By the time Election Day rolls around this Tuesday, and a new president is determined, as well as a host of local elections are resolved, more than a third of registered voters will have cast their ballots, likely comprising at least half the number who turn out for the election.
Saturday’s opening day for early voting, at the Apalachicola and Carrabelle offices, saw 531 voters mark their ballots, followed by 121 Sunday, 436 Monday and 290 Tuesday, for a total of 1,381.
In addition the roughly 1,800 vote by mail ballots that were sent out have been coming back at a steady clip, and as of end of day Tuesday, totaled 1,181, almost two-thirds of the total.
In all, more than 2,567 voters had cast ballots as of first thing Wednesday morning, more than 35 percent of the county’s roughly 7,200 registered voters. And with eventual turnout expected by Supervisor of Elections Pinki Jackel to be in the 75 to 80 percent range, it’s likely that fewer than half the turnout will take place on Tuesday, when polls open at 7 a.m.
“It’s a record turnout for early voting,” said Jackel. “It was very strong for the first three full days. We’ve broken a record for the number of voters who have cast ballots ahead of Election Day.
“Voters have been very serious and somber about voting,” she said. “They’re not visiting and hanging around. They want to get it done and get back to life.
“It has been very orderly. We haven’t had anyone out of order. Everyone is very respectful of the process,” Jackel said.
So far Republicans have been voting at a slightly better clip, since they are outnumbered two-to-one by Democrats but early voting and vote by mail has been pretty much evenly split between the two parties.
The strongest turnout so far has been in precincts in Apalachicola and Carrabelle, both over 40 percent, while the lowest turnout, under 30 percent, has been in Eastpoint.
Jackel said her office has called about the growing number of signs placed illegally on the right-of-way. “Their reply is they are looking at it but they are not staffed to police signs in the rights-of-way for all 67 counties. Every county has the same violations.
“They are going to wait until after the election. They’ll give candidates a few days to pick up their signs and then they’ll begin sign retrieval,” she said.
Early voting, which continues daily, ends at 6 p.m. Saturday. Jackel said those who come out on Election Day should not expect much of a wait.
“We’ve had extra staff assisting at both locations and no one has had to wait more than a couple minutes,” she said. “We are happy and thrilled that the process is underway.”