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In-Person Voting To Begin in Bay, Gulf Counties This Weekend

Election Day 2020 Senior Center.jpg
Valerie Crowder
Voters in Panama City Beach head to the Lyndell Senior Center, one of Bay County's "super voting" sites, to cast their municipal elections' ballots on April 21, 2020.

Voters in two Northwest Florida counties are getting ready to head to the polls for the first time during this year’s presidential election.

“We fully anticipate we’re going to be very busy right on through Election Day,” said Mark Andersen, supervisor of elections in Bay County.

While early voting has already begun across the state, the polls are opening in Bay and Gulf Counties on Saturday, Oct. 24. And they'll remain open through Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

The two counties have been operating their elections differently since Hurricane Michael destroyed voting sites in many precincts, Andersen said. “We cannot get the number of polling location buildings because they just don’t physically exist still today."

In Bay County, many of the 44 polling locations that operated before the hurricane remain damaged. The county secured an emergency waiver from the state that allows them to do away with requiring voters to cast Election Day ballots within their designated precinct.

Instead, voters may cast a ballot at one of 14 “super voting” sites on Monday, Nov. 2 and Tuesday, Nov. 3.

“I’m able to provide a ballot to any voter that goes to any site,” Andersen said. “They’re not forced to go to a specific precinct on Election Day.”

Seven of the county’s “super voting” sites will open on Saturday. The remaining seven will operate only on Monday, Nov. 2 and Tuesday, Nov. 3.

“This method has worked for the last three elections and we’re getting ready to do another one.”

Polling sites will remain open every day from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. A complete list of the county's "super voting" sites are available on the supervisor of elections' website.

In Gulf County, voters will also begin casting in-person ballots on Saturday, Oct. 24. Two polling locations will remain open every day through Election Day from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.