Parts of south and central Florida are still reeling from Hurricane Charley. Now, the state must conduct a primary election amidst the cleanup. While officials admit there will be challenges next Tuesday, they don't expect any major problems.
A steady stream of voters across the state is casting ballots early. By all accounts the number of people voting early or asking for absentee ballots this election is setting a record.
Secretary of State Glenda Hood credits the early turnout and large numbers of absentee ballots being requested to educational efforts by local officials.
"People like the choices, and that’s why we are seeing the increases," says Hood.
Tens of thousands of poll workers like Robie Visk are in training for the first time.
Robbie says, "I signed up because it’s important to me that everybody gets the chance to exercise a vote, and that I had to fill in for a pinch for a person who had to leave town and couldn’t do it."
A new PSA is encouraging people to volunteer in the hardest hit hurricane areas. Still, the state says there is no shortage of poll workers.
"We always can use additional poll workers and we really want to reach out and have as many people there as possible to help these supervisors."
Gov. Jeb Bush says no one will be disenfranchised, but he isn’t promising a perfect election.
Gov. Jeb Bush says, "The challenge in a hurricane ravaged area is to redesign the system because many of the precincts were totally destroyed.’
The state also has a voter hotline to help guide people to the right polling places and answer questions. The hope is that a problem free primary will take some of the spotlight off November.
Anyone with questions about the upcoming primary can call the Secretary of State's Office toll free at 1-866-308-6739. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on election day.
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