Early voting kicks off in Sunshine State

Published: Oct. 19, 2020 at 4:11 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Just over two weeks until Election Day and voters in the Sunshine State are headed to the polls.

Voters were standing outside the Marianna polling location before 8 am on October 19th when early voting started to cast their ballots.

Jackson County’s Supervisor of Elections, Sylvia Stephens tells me believes they are going to have a higher turnout for early voting this year than in previous years.

Needless to say, early voting is growing in popularity.

“For the past four to six years we have more people that are early voting and voting by mail that we have already had 50 to 52 percent of the people have already voted before election day. So it is catching on people like to do it because they can choose their time and not wait,” said Sylvia Stephens - Jackson County Supervisor of Elections.

Early voting gives a sense of freedom to voters. If they cant make it out on Election Day, this is their option to continue their civic duty.

“They can vote at their convenience if they want to come Saturday and Sunday when they are off work the kids are maybe not at a school function after school or they don’t want to wait to the deadline on election day or they are going to be out of town maybe going to families out of town and they want to place the ballot into the tabulator themselves then early voting they can come at their own convenient time and vote and put their ballot into the machine," said Stephens.

Polling officials are doing their best to keep voters safety in mind when casting their ballots due to COVID-19.

“We have sneeze guards in front of our poll workers where the voter signs in and where they get their ballot printed. for our workers we have face shields if they want to wear them we have masks we have gloves we have hand sanitizer we have Lysol spray and we also have gloves and face masks and hand sanitizer available for the voters,” said Stephens.

Mail-in voting is also gaining popularity. Jackson County has also seen record numbers this election season.

If you are a mail in voter you must have your ballot returned to the elections office before 7 pm on Election Day November 3rd.

For early voters, there are three early voting locations in Jackson County, the Marianna Elections Office, Sneads City Hall and Graceville City Hall. Early voting closes on October 31st.

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