By the time polls in Manatee County open Tuesday morning, at least 50 percent of the county’s registered voters will have already cast their ballots, according to Manatee County’s Supervisor of Elections.
With polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, voters should expect lines in the morning but they shouldn’t be long, Mike Bennett said Monday afternoon. As of 5:02 p.m. Monday, nearly 50 percent of eligible voters had voted.
This is truly one of the most important days of the year. I mean it’s America.
Mike Bennett, Manatee Supervisor of Elections
“We are hoping that there won’t be any lines out there,” he said. “If there are, we are asking people to be a little bit patient and understand there is going to be a lot of people out there campaigning, waving signs. There will be excitement and this is truly one of the most important days of the year. I mean, it’s America.”
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On Monday, residents dropped vote-by-mail ballots off at a slot outside the Supervisor of Elections Office, 600 301 Blvd. W. #108, Bradenton. Other residents filled the office’s lobby, asking staff last-minute questions as Election Day approached.
Vote-by-mail ballots can be dropped off at the Supervisor of Elections Office until 7 p.m. Tuesday to count. Should a voter elect to instead vote at a precinct, the voter should bring the vote-by-mail ballot with them to the polls, according to Bennett.
“They can still drop an absentee ballot off at my office but no other place,” he said. “We have a slot outside. They can stick that absentee ballot in there. If they show up at the polls, take the absentee ballot with them if they are not going to drop it into the slot.”
As of Monday, 15,883 of the vote-by-mail ballots mailed to Manatee County voters had yet to be returned, according to the Florida Division of Elections.
To find their precinct location, voters should either look on their voter ID card or visit votemanatee.com.
“If there is any question, they can call the office,” Bennett said. “The phones will be busy. I can promise you that. Make sure they take a photo ID with them.”
The Supervisor of Elections Office can be reached at 941-741-3823.
Should voters not bring the vote-by-mail ballot with them to the precinct, they will have to vote using a provisional ballot, Bennett said.
“It will be counted but we have to verify that they didn’t vote-by-mail ballot and try to vote at the polls,” he said.