Early voting begins Monday, Oct. 19
Updated 3:30 p.m. Oct. 16, with an image below, showing the traffic route for early voting
Detours for construction in front of the Government Services Building have not prevented a record-setting flow of mail-in ballots, according to Elections Supervisor Kaiti Lenhart.
Mail-in ballots can be mailed, or they can be inserted into the box at the Elections Office by following the detour signs. Ballots must be received by 7 p.m. Nov. 3, regardless of postmark, however, so it’s best to put the ballot in the mail several days prior, if you choose not to either hand-deliver it or vote at the poll.
Construction is underway to replace the drainage swale with pipes and then add 62 parking spaces. The project will cost $615,000 plus contingencies. The detour has been in place since Sept. 25 and will be in place till Nov. 24, with construction to be completed by Dec. 23.
Although Lenhart said she would prefer to not have a detour during early voting, County Administrator Jerry Cameron said it would cost about $18,000 to pause the project.
"Administration is going to great effort to ensure this is the easiest process in the history of the GSB for voters to access the polls," county spokeswoman Julie Murphy wrote in an email to the media. "General Services is providing signage and or volunteers to direct voters to reserved parking by the SOE office."
The signs and traffic volunteers will be in place in time for early voting to begin, Cameron said. "I can get them to the polls without getting lost," he said in an Oct. 16 phone interview with the Palm Coast Observer.
The Canvassing Board met for its first General Election ballot-counting session on Oct. 14, and it was a marathon: The meeting lasted 9.5 hours, with 14,305 ballots counted. Results of mail-in voting will be revealed on the night of the election, Nov. 3.
“It was the largest canvass we’ve ever had for any election,” Lenhart said, “more than the entire General Election last time.”
The meeting went smoothly, she said, with 18 volunteers plus the Canvassing Board. It began at 10 a.m. and ended at 7:30 p.m., with no complaints of paper cuts.
40,000 Republicans registered
As of 11 a.m. Oct. 16, there were 17,092 total ballots cast out of 91,920 eligible voters, or 18.59%. All those are by mail so far, with early voting beginning Oct. 19, at three locations: the Flagler County library on Palm Coast Parkway, the Palm Coast Community Center and the Supervisor of Elections office at the GSB.
Of the 17,000 mail-in ballots received, 8,108 were from Democrats, 5,754 from Republicans, 3,073 were no party affiliation, and 157 were “other.”
There are about 40,000 Republicans registered to vote in Flagler County, as well as 28,000 Democrats and 22,000 NPAs.
The Canvassing Board comprises Judge Melissa Distler, County Commissioner Greg Hansen and Lenhart. Alternative members are Judge Andrea Totten and County Commissioner Charlie Ericksen Jr.