MOORE HAVEN — Supervisor of Elections (SOE) Aletris Farnam wants all residents to know that the start of early voting on Saturday, Oct. 24, in Glades County coincides with the final day to request the vote-by-mail option.
Also, her office’s secure ballot drop box is open at the county courthouse, 500 Avenue J, from 1 a.m. until 11 p.m. daily.
In-person early voting begins Saturday at 8:30 a.m., inside what will be the SOE’s new office at 598 Avenue J, and the polling place will be open from that time until 4:30 p.m. daily there through Saturday, Oct. 31. Social distancing and the wearing of masks is NOT mandatory for those expected to line up to vote, but she hopes people’s concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic will temper their behavior. They’re simply asking people to observe a safe distance if they must stand in line.
Glades County’s turnout for the general election of 2020 already shows almost 19% of voters participating — that’s how many vote-by-mail and absentee ballots had been received as of 2:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23. There are 7,097 active, eligible voters who are registered in Glades County, and 1,328 ballots are already logged in and locked away inside the courthouse.
A public viewing of the vote-by-mail ballot opening and counting starts at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Nov. 2, inside the county commission chambers in the courthouse, on the second floor.
Farnam, asked how the preparations had been going on Friday afternoon, said, “We’re ready!” She and her office staff are actually in the middle of planning to move the contents of their courthouse office across to Avenue J, which probably will happen during the last few weeks of the year.
They installed the new drop box at the rear of the courthouse this month and already put a new banner sign on that building. “They’re (the county board) going to move me out to the old health department, which will be fantastic because then ... I can do everything under one roof, with my equipment and early voting, training, canvassing — everything will be done there.”
They completed the testing of all vote-counting machines for accuracy this week, she said, and there were no issues found. “We’re good to go.”
Farnam added, “I expect that early voting is going to be a good amount” of the remaining 5,769 registered voters in Glades who have not voted yet — but that would be if 100% of them turn out, which never happens.
About Monday’s exercise, Farnam said: “All the ballots that we’ve received for vote-by-mail are kept locked. About 30 minutes before, we’ll take them down to the canvassing area, and anybody can look at the ballots. It’s open to the public. And then we’ll run them through a letter-opener, and we start removing them from the envelopes and separate the ballots from the secrecy sleeve, and then we run them through a high-speed counter.”
She said they’re receiving new ballots every day, but also that she expects a very high total turnout when all the votes are in.
As usual in a presidential election year, the county commission boardroom will be the nerve center on Election Night 2020, where vote totals will constantly be updated on a large screen, but the public can also keep track of how Glades County neighbors voted via the SOE’s website at voteglades.com. The office’s phone number is 863-946-6005, for anyone who has any questions.