Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley is testing voting systems to ensure the process goes smoothly for the June 18 special election.
Candidates in the House District 7 special election are Republican Jason Shoaf, a lifelong Port St. Joe resident and businessman, and Leon County resident Ryan Terrell on the Democratic ticket. The winner will take the House seat vacated by Halsey Beshears, who was tapped by Governor Ron DeSantis to head the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
Less than a month out, Earley and his staff ran test ballots through machines Wednesday in preparation for roughly 6,000 potential voters. Earley says he’s trying to get the word out to voters to increase turnout – as special elections typically don’t have the highest participation.
“Getting that word out is tough. People aren’t thinking anything about elections, and you know, now it’s the summer and people are on vacation, that kind of thing. The turnouts are light,” Earley said. “I will say though, in the April primary for this, the turnout was heavier than I think a lot of us expected.”
Earley says the machines Leon County uses now are still relatively young in the life cycle of a voting system.
“Our last system lasted 21 years, I believe – or 22, it depends on when you set the start date because we kind of phased it in. In 2014 we adopted this new system, and we’re hoping it goes at least 10 to 15 years – and frankly it could go longer than that,” Earley said. “It’s a very robust system, I think it’s got very, very good security capabilities. “
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