Happy Election Day!
HelloSWFL went out to talk to voters. We spoke with voters from a couple of different precincts, finding only a few. Why the low turnout?
“I did early voting because it’s convenient,” Tony Kunasek said, who works in the state attorney’s office. “You can stop in pretty much whenever you have the opportunity and you can walk in and walk out.”
Exercising your civic duty as a voting constituent can be time-consuming. Having the convenience of voting when you want is attractive to SWFL residents. For some, such as those who chose to vote-by-mail, it lets them avoid the scorching summer heat.
Voting-by-mail, or postal voting, is a way to vote in elections. The ballot marking the constituent’s selection of candidates is returned by post. It is the chosen method for many electors, including people with physical disabilities, to mark their ballots without having to travel to a voting precinct.
One of the constituents that Hello SWFL spoke with was a middle-aged man who carried a small, fluttering American flag in his left hand. He said he feels patriotic voting on election day.
Lewis Robinson has been outside since 7 a.m. “I’m encouraging people to get out and vote,” Robinson said, who voted by mail.
“Voting by mail makes it easy and very secure,” Robinson said, who is middle aged.
He wore a bucket hat to shield his sweaty face from the sun. The rest of his body glistened from perspiration, yet Robinson maintained composure, holding a campaign sign to promote the governor candidate, Andrew Gillum.
“We’ve had some problems at some past elections,” he said, “waiting in lines and with the ballots.”
Robinson is one of the two million early voters who cast their ballot by mail this year. In Lee County alone, 70,000 voters chose this method.
In 2014, there were 63,000 votes sent by mail ballots.
“We encourage people to vote by mail because it’s a convenient way to do it and we pay for the postage return,” Tommy Doyle, Lee County Supervisor of Elections, said.
Doyle doesn’t look down on the growing trend. The constituents are still exercising their civic duties.
“It just takes time,” he said. “People don’t have time today they’re trying to make a living, support their families, and feed their kids.”
The tricky part about it is, even though mail-in ballots are up, voting numbers are almost identical to what they were in 2014 in Lee County.
The voting turnout jumped from 21.8 percent in 2014 to 22 percent in 2018.
Reporting by Terrace Myles