With Hurricane Michael striking North Florida less than 30 days before the Nov. 6 general election, one urgent consideration for many Panhandle residents is how to cast their vote.
Elections officials are working across the region to make it possible for all registered voters to cast their ballot, but the how-to details of voting in this election vary from county to county.
One thing will remain constant: Gov. Rick Scott has ordered that elections officials across the storm-affected area may waive requirements of state law that vote-by-mail ballots must be sent to a voter’s home address. Voters who wish to vote by mail may request that their ballot be sent to a temporary location.
For those North Florida residents who lost or can't find their identification, there may be another step involved in voting. State law requires each voter to produce a valid identification card bearing your photograph with signature. For most voters, this will be your state-issued driver license, but it also could be a non-driver identification card issued by the state of Florida, a U.S. passport, a military or student identification card or a debit or credit card. The state Division of Elections offers a complete list of acceptable identification cards.
If you lost your identification card or driver license in Hurricane Michael, elections officials suggest going to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle office and getting a replacement license. If your closest driver license office is closed due to Hurricane Michael, the department also offers driver licenses through its FLOW vehicles, which are driver license offices on wheels. FLOW vehicles are stationed in the storm-affected area.
If you have no identification, you may vote by Vote By Mail (also called absentee) ballot, which does not require photo identification. Vote By Mail ballots may be mailed or taken in person to a voting site on Election Day. You also may vote by provisional ballot, according to the Division of Elections website.
Here is a county-by-county list of information on voting in the 12 storm-affected counties:
Election Supervisor Mark Andersen’s office is open and had limited electrical power and temporary telephone service as of Oct. 22. The temporary phone numbers are (850) 248-8602, (850) 248-8603 and (850) 248-8604. The county is offering six “Mega Voting Sites” that will be open from 7 am to 7 pm starting Oct. 27. The sites are:
- Lynn Haven: Lynn Haven Elementary School Cafeteria, 301 W. Ninth St.
- Panama City Beach: Panama City Beach Senior Center, 423 Lyndell Lane
- Panama City:
- Palo Alto Church of Christ, 3119 N. Highway 231
- Supervisor of Elections office, 830 W. 11th
- Parker United Methodist Church, 908 S. Tyndall Parkway
- Stanford Station (near Hobby Lobby), 746 W. 23rd
Any registered voter may vote in any Mega Voting location. You may also arrange to vote by mail by visiting the office or by requesting a Vote By Mail ballot by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling one of the numbers above. For more information, email email@example.com.
Elections Supervisor Sharon Chason’s office is open, has electrical power restored and has telephone service at (850) 674-8568. The office, located in Room 117 of the County Courthouse at 20859 Central Avenue in Blountstown, is open now for early voting through Nov. 5. Hours of operation will be from 7 am to 5 pm Monday-Friday and 8 am to 4 pm Saturday and Sunday. Absentee ballots are available at the elections office. Voting locations will be open from 7 am to 7 pm on Nov. 6. Some election locations have changed due to damage from the storm. For more information, go to https://www.votecalhoun.com/ or call the number listed above.
- Franklin County: Elections Supervisor Heather Riley’s office is open, has electrical power and has telephone service at (850) 653-9520. Early voting begins Oct. 27 and voters may cast ballots from 8 am to 6 pm at either of two locations:
- Elections supervisor’s office at 47 Avenue F in Apalachicola
- 912 NW Avenue A in Carrabelle
Elections Supervisor Shirley Green Knight’s office is open, has electrical power and telephone service at (850) 627-9910. Early voting has begun and will continue through Nov. 5. Early voting hours are 9 am to 6 pm Monday-Friday and 9 am to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday. There are six locations open for early voting. The county’s 25 voting locations will be open as usual from 7 am to 7 pm on Nov. 6 but in Chattahoochee, Precinct 9’s location has been moved to the Chattahoochee Library, 300 Maple Street, Chattahoochee, Fla. You may request a Vote By Mail ballot at the office’s website or by calling the number listed above.
Election Supervisor John Hanlon’s office is open and operating on generator power as of Oct. 22. The telephone service had not yet been restored at that date but Hanlon’s office indicated in a website post that voting would be open starting Oct. 27 at two voting Super Centers:
- 401 Long Avenue, Port St. Joe
- Wewahitchka Branch Public Library, 314 N. Second Street, Wewahitchka
Elections Supervisor Debbie Wilcox Morris’s office is open and operating as usual. The office can be reached by phone at (850) 547-1107. Early voting begins Oct. 27 and will continue through Nov. 3. Voting hours are 8 am to 5 pm daily in this period but will be 9 am to 5 pm on Sunday, Oct. 28. The county’s voting locations will be open as usual. For more information, call the number above or check online.
Elections Supervisor Sylvia D. Stephens’ office is open, has electrical power and telephone service at (850) 482-9652. Early voting begins Oct. 27 and will continue from 8 am to 5 pm daily through Nov. 5. Three early-voting locations will be open:
- Election supervisor’s office at 2851 Jefferson St., Marianna
- Sneads City Hall, 2028 Third Ave., Sneads
- Graceville Civic Center, 5224 Brown St., Graceville
On Election Day, however, the usual voting locations in Jackson County will be closed. Voters in Jackson County may vote at any of three early-voting locations.
Elections Supervisor Gina McDowell’s office is open, has electrical power and telephone service at (850) 643-5226. Early voting has begun and will continue through Nov. 3. Early voting ballots may be cast from 8 am to 4 pm at the supervisor of elections office at the Liberty County Courthouse, 10818 N.W. State Road 20 in Bristol, Fla. All of Liberty County’s usual polling locations will be open for Election Day Nov. 6. For more information, check the office’s website or call the number listed above.
Elections Supervisor Mark Earley’s office at 2990-1 Apalachee Parkway in Tallahassee is open and operating as usual. Early voting is under way now through Sunday, Nov. 4 at the Leon County Courthouse and nine other locations countywide. Leon County’s usual polling places will be open as usual on Election Day. The office maintains a search system that allows you confirm your voter registration and also provides information on your precinct location. You also may call the office at (850) 606-8683.
Elections Supervisor Dana Southerland’s office is open and operating as normal. Southerland said the office did not lose power during the storm and sustained little or no damage to the office or polling locations. Early voting has begun and will continue through Nov. 3. The elections supervisor’s office at 433 U.S. 19 N in Perry is the county’s early voting location. The office’s website lists all 14 precinct locations. The office may be reached by phone at (850) 838-3515.
Elections Supervisor Henry F. “Buddy” Wells’s office is open and operating as normal. Elections officials said the office lost power for three days after the storm but sustained no significant damage. Early voting begins Oct. 27 and runs through Nov. 4. Early voting is offered at the Supervisor of Elections office at 3315 B Crawfordville Highway, Crawfordville. The office offers information about precinct locations online. You may request a Vote By Mail ballot online or by calling the office at (850) 926-7575.
Elections Supervisor Carol Finch Rudd’s office is open and operating as normal. The office can be reached at (850) 638-6230. Early voting will begin Oct. 27 and run through Nov. 3. Early voting will be available at the Supervisor of Elections office at 1331 South Blvd., Suite 900, Chipley, from 8 am to 5 pm except for Sunday, Oct. 28, when voting will be open from 9 am to 5 pm.
Rudd’s office indicated that some polling locations may not be available on Election Day but voting will be available at these Mega Voting Centers in the county:
- Elections supervisor’s office in Chipley
- Vernon City Hall, 2808 Yellow Jacket Dr., Vernon
- Orange Hill Fire Station, 1927 Orange Hill Rd., Chipley
- Sunny Hills Community Center, 4083 Challenger Blvd., Chipley
Vote by mail information is available online or by calling the office at the number listed above.