Politics & Government

Manatee County voters to face very long ballot

MANATEE — In November, voters are going to face the largest ballot the Manatee supervisor of elections can remember.

“It’s the biggest one we’ve ever had,” said Supervisor of Elections Bob Sweat about the ballot for the Nov. 6 general election.

“It’s two pages, front and back,” said Sweat, who has been overseeing local elections for close to three decades. He announced earlier this year he would not run for re-election in November.

The ballot, usually 8.5 by 11 inches, this time will be supersized at 8.5 by 18 inches, and will cost $1.30 to mail back for those who vote via absentee ballot, said Sweat today.

Sweat is recommending that people use absentee ballots because of the length of 11 proposed changes to the constitution the voters must decide on.

“It would be a lot easier,” he said. “It’ll take you 22-25 minutes just to read them, whether you understand them or not.”

He emphasized that every absentee ballot is tracked from when it goes out to the voter to when it comes back to the office, and every one is counted.

In order to avoid long lines on election day, voters may also vote early, from Oct. 27-Nov. 3, he said.

Those who want to register to vote may do so until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 9, Sweat said.

To register, you don’t have to provide any documentation, but you must sign an oath saying you’re a U.S. citizen and a legal resident, and that you have not ever been declared incompetent, said Sweat.

If you vote by mail, you don’t have to present any documentation; but if you vote in person, you must present a document with a picture identification and signature, such as a driver’s license, a passport or a student ID, said Sweat.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031.