Manatee elections supervisor wants remote vote boxes

skennedy@bradenton.comMay 26, 2014 

MANATEE -- Manatee County's supervisor of elections is applying for a $35,000 grant through the federal Help America Vote Act for money to print and mail sample ballots.

"We think we've got a good shot this year," said Mike Bennett, supervisor of elections. "The idea is to give people time to review the ballots."

He said the money would pay for printing and mailing sample ballots, which must be ready well before the election.

"We've got to move pretty quickly," said Bennett.

The Help America Vote Act was passed by the U.S. Congress in 2002 to make sweeping reforms to the nation's voting process, according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission website.

It addresses improvements to voting systems and voter access identified following the 2000 election, the website said.

The primary election is slated for Aug. 26, with early voting from Aug. 16-23.

Bennett said he hopes to institute remote drop boxes this year to allow voters the convenience of dropping their absentee ballots in secure boxes at sites other than the Bradenton supervisor of elections office.

Patty Benson, Manatee County Democratic Party chairwoman, who has criticized some changes Bennett made recently, welcomed the idea of remote drop boxes as long as they are truly secure.

"It would make it easier for voters," she said.

The general election is set for Nov. 4.

Manatee County had 89,495 registered Republicans as of Friday, 67,448 registered Democrats and 53,706 voters who registered under "Other."

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter@sarawrites.

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