Early voting for 2022 midterms begins in Southwest Florida

Published: Updated:
Lee County Supervisor of Elections Tommy Doyle using a new

On Monday, people who live in Lee, Charlotte, Hendry, and DeSoto counties can cast early votes in the 2022 primary election. Voters from Collier and Glades counties will have to wait a few more days.

The first early votes were cast in Charlotte County, where polls opened at 7 a.m.

The latest poll released by Florida Atlantic’s Business and Economics Polling Initiative gives the Republican incumbents the edge: In the race for governor, 51% of registered voters say they support incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis, with just 40% behind Democratic challenger Charlie Crist. 66% of all voters expect DeSantis to win re-election, meaning many Crist supporters hold little hope their candidate can turn things around.

A similar script in the race for U.S. Senate: Two-term Republican Sen. Marco Rubio leads Democratic challenger Val Demings by six points, 48% to 42%. Again, 60% of all voters expect Rubio to win a third term.

The survey of 719 Floridians revealed that inflation is the most important issue to voters by a wide margin, 36%. Only 9% of those surveyed say abortion is what will drive them to the polls.

In Charlotte County, Republicans outnumber Democrats by more than two to one. In Lee County, there are 100,000 more Republicans than Democrats. Regardless of your party, though, voting in Lee County will be slightly different this election, thanks to Expressvote. Lee County Supervisor of Elections Tommy Doyle showed off the new electronic system. Instead of a paper ballot that requires you to fill in circles next to the candidates of your choice, voters will use touch screen technology.

“We’re going to have 15 to 20 units at every voting site,” Doyle said. “We’re hoping we can… it’ll be more efficient. If people come ready to vote, they can. They don’t have to bubble any bubbles, they can just click the button, go next, next, next, and print it out and get tabulated.”

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