Early voting begins today


Published: Monday, January 14, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 14, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

Alachua County residents psyched up for the election season thanks to Iowa and New Hampshire balloting can finally kick into action themselves - early voting for the presidential preference primary, Gainesville City Commission races and a tax initiative is underway.

Elections Supervisor Pam Carpenter said she expects early voting - which starts today - will again prove popular, adding that requests for absentee ballots appear to be on the rise as well.

"We are seeing an increase in early voting and absentee voting. Everybody we hear from who uses the early voting opportunity speaks very highly of it," Carpenter said. "We're looking at the requests for absentee ballots and, compared to the presidential preference primary in 2004, we are seeing a little bit of an increase. We're seeing a bump in the requests."

Carpenter said she believes overall turnout will be in the 50 to 60 percent range, up from the usual 30 to 35 percent.

The higher turnout would be attributed to the state tax initiative, Carpenter added. The amendment, if passed, will boost the homestead exemption, allow residents to apply Save Our Homes savings to a new home and provide tax cuts to businesses.

Early voting sites are at the elections office in the County Administration Building at 12 SE 1st St., the Millhopper Branch Library at 3145 NW 43rd St. and the Tower Road Branch Library at 3020 SW 75th St.

Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, 1 p.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Jan. 26. Early voting will be held Martin Luther King Day, Jan. 21.

Voters must have a photo and signature identification or they will be required to vote a provisional ballot.

Absentee ballots can be picked up at the elections office, which will also mail out ballots on request. The ballots must be returned to the office by 7 p.m. on Jan. 29.

Meanwhile, voters should be getting their sample ballots in the mail. The sample ballots can be viewed at the elections Web site at http://elections.alachua.fl.us.

Voters who have moved and have not notified the elections office of their new address can go to the Web site to make a change of address or contact the elections office. A new voter information card will be mailed based on the updated information.

Cindy Swirko can be reached at 352-374-5024 or swirkoc@ gvillesun.com.

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