The impacts of Hurricane Ian continue to be felt throughout Florida. As voters head to the polls on Election Day in hard-hit Lee County, they will find a drastically reduced number of polling locations.
Polling Locations Greatly Reduced in Lee County Due to Ian’s Impacts
The destruction left after a Category 4 hurricane tore through Lee County has created a shortage of resources and workers needed to staff the area’s polling locations. Lee County is down to just 12 locations after expecting to have 97 sites. In addition to immense structural damage to some of the polling locations, the county is also dealing with a lack of staff to manage the facilities.Read More »
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis authorized the election officials in Lee, Charlotte, and Sarasota counties to allow voting starting on October 24 to give residents more time to cast their ballots. The order also allowed voters to ask for ballots to be sent to different addresses if they had been displaced because of the storm. In addition, the order sought to allow more workers to be eligible to staff the locations in an effort to boost support.
The lack of polling locations is not the only issue facing those that were hit the hardest by Ian when it slammed into the barrier islands of Lee County at the end of September. Many residents left the Sunshine State entirely after their homes were damaged or destroyed. This displacement has created mass chaos as election officials work to get these voters their rightful ballots.
What to Expect on Election Day in Lee County
In order to make the voting more accessible, Lee County officials are telling voters that they can vote at any of the 12 sites regardless of it is their assigned precinct. Lastly, local officials opened the large Louise Du Pont Crowninshield Community House as an additional site to cast ballots on Tuesday.
The polls in Lee County will open Tuesday at 7 am and remain open until 7 pm. Officials are asking residents to pack their patience as they had to the polls, knowing that they will likely encounter lines because of the reduced number of polling locations. You only have to be in line before the polls close to be able to vote.
Lee County suffered the brunt of Hurricane Lee. Of the 125 fatalities blamed on Ian, at least 60 were in this county.
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