Florida Officials Still Trying to Determine Way Forward After Ian

October 5, 2022 by Dan McCue
Florida Officials Still Trying to Determine Way Forward After Ian
A residence sits partially submerged in water after Hurricane Ian leaves behind widespread damage across Pine Island, Fla., on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. (Scott Clause/The News-Press via AP)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — With the clock ticking ever closer to Election Day, Florida election officials are continuing to tally damage and disruption assessments due to Hurricane Ian and charting a course to a fair and secure election.

In an email to The Well News, Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley, who is also the current president of the statewide association that represents the state’s local election officials, said, “it appears all counties survived the most damaging impacts to their elections offices and warehouses.”

“Voting machines, supplies, and staff are all safe and sound,” he said.

But that does not mean the damage caused as the Category 4 hurricane raked across the state hasn’t caused a host of potential problems.


“It is still early in the assessment phase for the counties most impacted,” Earley said.

And while election offices were spared, “that cannot be said for other structures that are integral to in-person voting such as early voting and Election Day polling sites,” he said.

“Also, the availability of poll workers will be impacted, and many voters and first responders are no longer in their home counties,” he added.

The bottom line, Earley said, is “many counties are going to be impacted in some manner, whether they took a direct hit or not.”

As reported by The Well News over the weekend, there was initially some fear that the hurricane would disrupt the distribution of mail-in ballots, the deadline for which is Thursday.

However, Earley said based on what he’s hearing from other election officials, that deadline will likely not be missed.

The next hurdle to overcome will be voter registration, as the last day to register to vote in Florida is Oct. 11. After that, the next test will be early voting, which is currently scheduled to begin on Oct. 24.


One location in Florida where election officials will surely be tested is Lee County, home to the city of Fort Myers, which bore the brunt of Ian’s fury.

In an email to other elections supervisors last week, Lee County Supervisor of Elections Tommy Doyle said, “Lee County is devastated.”

So far, the death toll from Ian in that county alone stands at 55, and dozens of people remain missing.

In addition, catastrophic damage to homes, businesses and local infrastructure is evident almost everywhere in the 1,200-square-mile county.

At the same time, it is the epicenter for power outages in the state. As of Wednesday morning, a total 313,467 homes and businesses were still without power, according to PowerOutage.us. 

Officials said it might be well into the weekend before power is restored.

If there’s a bright spot in all this, it is the attitude displayed by D. Alan Hays, supervisor of elections in Lake County, Florida.

In his own email to The Well News, Hays said his county, which is located in central Florida, west of Orlando, had been “spared the negative effects of the storm.”

“The path of destruction is south and east of our location. Thus our operations haven’t been negatively affected at all,” he said.

Hays said because of Lake County’s good fortune, “We are ready to [assist] our colleagues who have been damaged.


“We are ready to loan or give them anything they might need if we have the abundance to do so,” he said.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

A+
a-

In The News

Health

Voting

2022 Elections

Democratic Sen. Warnock Wins Georgia Runoff Against Walker

ATLANTA (AP) — Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock defeated Republican challenger Herschel Walker in a Georgia runoff election Tuesday, ensuring Democrats... Read More

ATLANTA (AP) — Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock defeated Republican challenger Herschel Walker in a Georgia runoff election Tuesday, ensuring Democrats an outright majority in the Senate for the rest of President Joe Biden's current term and capping an underwhelming midterm cycle for the GOP in the... Read More

December 6, 2022
by Dan McCue
Texas’ Top Election Official Resigns, Abbott Names Replacement

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas’ top election official, Secretary of State John Scott, resigned from that post on Monday, saying he... Read More

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas’ top election official, Secretary of State John Scott, resigned from that post on Monday, saying he will relinquish the office at the end of the year. As a result, on Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced he will appoint Republican State Sen. Jane... Read More

Arizona County Certifies Election After Judge's Order

PHOENIX (AP) — A rural Arizona county certified its midterm election results on Thursday, following the orders of a judge who ruled... Read More

PHOENIX (AP) — A rural Arizona county certified its midterm election results on Thursday, following the orders of a judge who ruled that Republican supervisors broke the law when they refused to sign off on the vote count by this week's deadline. Two Republicans on Cochise County's three-member... Read More

Obama Heads to Ga. as Warnock Seeks Big Early Vote Advantage

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia voters have cast more than 1 million ballots ahead of the Dec. 6 U.S. Senate runoff between Democratic... Read More

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia voters have cast more than 1 million ballots ahead of the Dec. 6 U.S. Senate runoff between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker, with Warnock looking to juice an apparent Democratic head start in early voting with a visit Thursday from... Read More

November 29, 2022
by Dan McCue
In-Person, Early Voting in Georgia Senate Contest Shatters Record

ATLANTA — Georgia voters choosing between incumbent Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock and his Republican challenger Herschel Walker in the Dec.... Read More

ATLANTA — Georgia voters choosing between incumbent Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock and his Republican challenger Herschel Walker in the Dec. 6 runoff election shattered the state’s record for early, in-person voting on Monday, according to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. In all, 301,545 Georgians cast their... Read More

Murkowski Withstands Another Conservative GOP Challenger

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a moderate Republican, has twice withstood challenges from more conservative factions of... Read More

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a moderate Republican, has twice withstood challenges from more conservative factions of her party; more than a decade ago, she mounted a historical write-in campaign to beat a tea party favorite, and this year she won reelection after inflaming the... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top