PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Hurricane Ian victims are trying to return to as much of a normal routine as possible, and that includes voting in the upcoming election.
The General Election process in Florida is already underway. Election offices began mailing ballots to voters in late September.
Governor Ron Desantis is trying to keep the voting process on track in Southwest Florida. Desantis issued an executive order that among other things extends early voting up until election day.
“The executive order is a good thing because it allows you to do the thing you need to do and you have the authority to do it,” said Supervisor of Elections, Mark Andersen.
Andersen was forced to get creative after Hurricane Michael devasted Bay County in 2018. Andersen said Southwest Florida will face similar issues like finding polling places and having enough precinct workers.
Anderson said to this day some Bay County polling locations still aren’t repaired.
“That’s another thing, can you go into a condemned building and cast a ballot? No, because you can’t go into a condemned building,” Andersen said.
Andersen said Florida saw three recounts for statewide elections in 2018. Two years ago, the legislature failed to take action on measures to allow more voting options.
“So here we are again here in Florida with that situation would it have already been in statute or allowed to some extent,” Andersen said. “We wouldn’t need the executive order to do the process we still communicate division and get the approval you know identify and specify what would be done, but again it wouldn’t require the executive order.”
Even after Hurricane Michael, Bay County had a near record voter turnout.
Andersen said he has no doubt voter turnout will be solid in the area damaged by Ian.
The General Election will be on November 8.