TAMPA - Even though Governor Scott would not extend early voting, folks are still stopping by the Supervisor of Elections Gilder Service Center oh Falkenburg Road to cast their ballots today.
The difference is that these are absentee ballots. Picked up here and due back to the Supervisor of Elections offices by 7 pm Tuesday. Voters have to go through all the secrecy and sealing stuff on their own before returning the signed and sealed absentee ballot (all three sheets) before that deadline.
However, we' have seen a steady stream into the offices all morning. This adding to the over 40% of Hillsborough County voters who will already have their ballots cast by election day.
"It's really awesome, just be be able to have a say," said foist-time voter Tiffany Thurman as she showed up to hand in her absentee ballot this morning.
"Those absentee ballots ARE counted," intoned Earl Lennard, the Supervisor of Elections, as he made his way around the offices here in the final hours before polls officially open tomorrow.
Knowing that Hillsborough County will be a major player in the highly coveted I-4 corridor vote, Dr. Lennard wanted to make sure that ALL voters had a chance to properly cast their ballots, so he outfitted the lobby of the office into a makeshift polling place, so voters could more easily manipulate their absentee paperwork before officially submitting it. Between those stopping by to "vote" today and the drop-offs, standard ballot boxes were filling up so fast, they had to be changed out every 45 minutes or so.
"We are ready for tomorrow," said Dr. Lennard. "It's going to be a big day." Voters are being reminded that the only place they can legally vote tomorrow is at their home precinct, and that they need to have a photo ID to qualify t their polling place.
But the absentee votes will be accepted until 7 pm at this office tonight, or at any of the Elections offices (not polling places) through 7 pm tomorrow.
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