Lee County supervisor encourages vote-by-mail, says polling locations safe

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

We could see a record number of voters voting by mail for the 2020 presidential election. And Lee County is encouraging it.

The office of the Lee County Supervisor of Elections sent out about 377,000 direct door mailers encouraging Lee County voters to register to vote by mail this year because of health and safety concerns.

“I’ve been voting by mail for a few years now, and I actually prefer it,” said Chelsea Ward in Fort Myers.

For Ward, voting from home means protecting her neighbors, such as one who normally volunteers at the polls.

“She isn’t going to be working at the polls this year because she doesn’t want to risk herself,” Ward said.

Elections supervisor Tommy Doyle feels polling locations are safe, and he’s also encouraging people to vote from home.

“Six-foot distancing, the sanitization of all of our equipment every time a voter leaves, so it’s going to create lines no matter what,” Doyle said. “In the last two weeks, we probably have increased our vote-by-mail requests by 5,000.”

However, President Donald Trump has raised fraud concerns when it comes to mail-in ballots.

“If there is reason for it, that’s okay, if there’s a reason,” Trump said. “But, if there’s not, we don’t want to take any chances with fraud in our elections.”

Vote-by-mail has been an option for voters for years, but you don’t have to go strictly by mail.

“If you don’t trust the post office, they can always drop it off at one of our drop-off locations,” Doyle said.

The deadline to request your vote-by-mail ballot for the presidential election is 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 8.

Regardless, if you go in person or vote from afar, you have the freedom to choose.

“Just because you have a vote-by-mail in your hand, it doesn’t mean you have to vote by mail,” Doyle said. “You still can go to the polls and vote.”

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