Voting by mail has already begun

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October 11th is the last day to register to vote. Click HERE to do so. The last day to request a Vote by Mail ballot to be mailed is October 29th, 2022.  Call the Charlotte County Supervisor of Elections at 941-833-5400. The following editorial was published in The Daily Sun on Oct 10, 2022. 

OUR POSITION: Your attention has been on Hurricane Ian recovery but don’t forget that mail-in voting for the midterm elections has begun and early voting is not far behind.

Hurricane Ian has provided a good excuse for voters to forget there’s a general election coming up in four weeks.

But, if you still need to register to vote and have not, you only have until the end of the day Tuesday to do so.

And, if you have not requested a mail-in ballot, but want to do so, you have until 5 p.m. Oct. 29 to ask for a ballot to be mailed to you for the General Election. Those who voted in the 2020 General Election, however, should automatically receive a mail-in ballot in their mailbox any day now. A request for a vote-by-mail ballot for all elections is valid through the end of the calendar year of the next regularly scheduled general election.

Area supervisors of election say Hurricane Ian should not impact voting — either mail-in voting, early voting or the general election set for Nov. 8.

Paul Stamoulis, Charlotte County supervisor of elections, said his office has already sent out 44,000 mail-in ballots.

If you’re waiting to vote in person, and want to do so early, the opportunity is just around the corner.

All three counties in our area — DeSoto, Sarasota and Charlotte — begin early voting Oct. 24.

In Charlotte, voters can cast their ballot from Oct. 24 to Nov. 6, 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. every day.

In person early voting in Sarasota County begins Oct. 24 and continues through Nov. 6, from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily at nine locations throughout the county.

DeSoto County will welcome voters Oct. 24 through Nov. 5, from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. weekends.

Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner has also begun mailing vote-by-mail (absentee) ballots to voters.

In an email, Turner said more than 118,000 ballots are in the initial mailing to registered Sarasota County voters who have vote-by-mail requests on file with the elections office. Following this initial mailing, ballots will be mailed daily as requests are processed.

Prior to Hurricane Ian, vote-by-mail ballots were scheduled to be mailed Sept. 29 in Sarasota County. That initial mailing was held back until Oct. 4, according to the county’s email.

Stamoulis said Election Day should go smoothly — unless more damage than expected is found in schools that host voting. Stamoulis said he appreciates the cooperation between the schools and his office.

“I believe we’re the only county in Florida where the schools close for use as voting locations on Election Day,” he said. “Our office and the voters of Charlotte County sincerely appreciate it.”

The supervisors said any voter who has been forced from their primary residence by Hurricane Ian should call the elections office to find out how they should proceed with a vote. In Sarasota County you can call 941-861-8618; in Charlotte County, 941-833-5400 and in DeSoto County, call 863-993-4871.

Everyone understands the problems potential voters in our area might be facing right now. Some may not even have a place to live while others are busy with repairs to hurricane-damaged homes or wading through paperwork to file with insurance companies.

The distractions are understandable. Still, we urge you to find the time to vote. It will be a nice break from Hurricane Ian worries.