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Palm Coast Friday, May 6, 2022 5 months ago

Flagler County adds early voting site, reduces Election Day voting locations

Barrier island residents will no longer have to cross the bridge to vote early.
by: Jonathan Simmons Managing Editor

Flagler County is increasing its number of early voting sites from three to four and reducing overall voting precincts from 23 to 21 as rising numbers of voters opt to vote early or by mail.

The new precinct numbers will be three digits, grouped into the 100s, 200s, 400s and 500s based on location.

"For in-person voting ... even if you take 2020 completely out of the equation, it's still on the decline," Flagler County Supervisor of Elections Kaiti Lenhart told Flagler County commissioners at a commission meeting on May 2. "You can see over time that voters are choosing to vote prior to Election Day. They're choosing to vote early; they're choosing to vote by mail."

The number of voters is expected to grow to 100,000 from the current 93,155 by the 2024 elections, and possibly by the end of the year. Lenhart is expecting at least 22,000 people to vote early this year —  28,609 people did so in 2020.

The new early voting site will be in Flagler Beach at the United Methodist Church on South Daytona Avenue; the other three are in Palm Coast (at the Palm Coast Community Center and Flagler County Library branch on Palm Coast Parkway) and Bunnell (at the Supervisor of Elections Office).

The changes come as the Supervisor of Elections Office reacts to new district boundaries drawn after the 2020 Census, Lenhart said. 

Flagler County's district boundaries are staying the same for state senator, state representative and congressional district; its house representative district number has changed from 24 to 19, but remains Rep. Paul Renner.

But County Commission, School Board and Palm Coast City Council district boundaries have changed slightly, necessitating precinct changes to align precincts with districts and avoid multiple ballot styles in precincts.

The Supervisor of Elections Office will be sending out new voter information cards about the boundary changes, Lenhart said. 

The county is also changing the way polling locations are numbered.

"We're changing the numbering system so it actually makes sense for us," Lenhart said. "The numbers right now really don't mean anything, and they've historically just been one, two, three." 

The new precinct numbers will be three digits, grouped into the 100s, 200s, 400s and 500s based on location.

Palm Coast residents' precinct numbers will start with a five; residents of unincorporated Flagler County will have precinct numbers starting with a four; Beverly Beach or Flagler Beach residents will have precinct numbers starting with a two; and Bunnell residents' precinct numbers will start with a one.

Some small precinct locations are being combined.

Precincts 5 (Rima Ridge) and 7 (Community Baptist Church) will now become Precinct 103, with a polling location at the Community Baptist Church.

Precincts 8 (Flagler Executive Airport) and 9 (Flagler County Association of Realtors) will become Precinct 501, at the Flagler County Association of Realtors building.

Precincts 15 (Buddy Taylor Middle School), 16 (Wadsworth Elementary School) and 17 (Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club) will become Precinct 506, at Wadsworth Elementary School.

The County Commission voted 5-0 to approve the changes.

Photo courtesy of the Flagler County Supervisor of Elections Office


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