MANATEE -- Those who prefer to vote early in this year's primary election have until 7 p.m. today to cast their ballot.
Early voting continues today, beginning at 7 a.m. and concluding at 7 p.m., at the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office, 600 301 Blvd. W., Suite 108, according to Bob Sweat, Manatee County supervisor of elections.
As of about noon Friday, about 1,891 people had voted early, said Sweat.
Asked about the number, Sweat said, "I think it's low."
"We had a couple days of miserable rain," he added Friday. "Tomorrow is the last day, it should be good, the weather should be good."
The primary election is set for Tuesday, with polls open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Sweat said.
Roughly 24,000 absentee ballots were sent out for the primary, he said.
They should be returned to
Sweat's office by 7 p.m. Tuesday, rather than taken to the polls, as "they wouldn't get here in time to be counted," Sweat said.
Registered voters need to bring a document with their picture and a signature identification, Sweat said, suggesting such things as a driver's license, passport or homeowners' association ID. Meanwhile, Manatee County has escaped a round of subpoenas issued last week by the U.S. Justice Department, seeking information about how some of the state's largest counties had identified and purged potential noncitizens from the voter rolls.
The subpoenas were part of a federal lawsuit in which the U.S. Justice Department has argued that any purges of voters done less than 90 days before a statewide election are in violation of federal law.
"I don't think we're big enough, or had enough people in that category," said Sweat.
Of 180,000 potential noncitizens on the rolls initially identified by state officials, nearly 2,700 names were sent to elections supervisors around the state for checking, according to the Herald's Tallahassee bureau.
"I think we had 11 the state sent us" who were potentially noncitizens, Sweat said Friday.
Of the 11 names, one person came in and confessed he was not a citizen, and one proved dual citizenship and was allowed to remain on the rolls, Sweat said.
Sweat hasn't heard from the other nine.
Asked what will happen to them, Sweat said, "We just stopped at that point, all the controversy about cease-and-desist, that's where we're at right now."
Only U.S. citizens are legally allowed to vote.
As of July 16, Manatee County had 203,068 registered voters; of those, 88,156 were Republican, 66,012 Democrat and 48,900 listed themselves as "Other," according to the elections office website. The general election is set for Nov. 6.
Information: 941-741-3823 or go to the elections' office website on the Internet, www.votemanatee.com.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031.