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Early Voting Sets Records In Pasco County, Anticipate Breaking More

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - Pasco County voting officials tell CW44 News At 10, early voting records are still being broken this week. Officials are working to address voter concerns at the polls. Among those concerns is potential voting harassment.

Pasco County early voting has gone exceedingly and historically well during its first week, according to Supervisor of Elections, Brian Corley. "We sent out about - almost 40% of our entire voter roll requested vote-by-mail ballots. And we've gotten back nearly 100,000, which is historic in and of itself."

Early voting started Monday in Pasco County. "And that was actually our busiest first day of early voting in the history of early voting." Corley says that trend has continued despite inclement weather there. "I have to say I've been so impressed with with the voters and I really want to thank them because - we're trying to administer the most scrutinized election ever during a pandemic. And the voters have been pretty understanding." New this year are the use of gymnasiums as an early voting spot, which Corley says has been a major help with turnout.

When asked about any challenges over the last week during early voting, Corley responded, "Probably managing expectations, because we notified voters back in May, that, you know, we didn't know if we were gonna have polling places my poll workers and we knew there'd be lines at a minimum and there are lines," But he says voters have been comforted when they show up to find out safety protocols are strictly in place to create a safe, social-distanced early voting process. However, safety protocols have now gone further than social-distancing.

Corley explained that some voters shared concerns about potential harassment at the polls. "Concerns I've heard from a multitude of constituents about, 'Am I going to be harassed at the polls?' and 'How safe is it going to be?' We have partnered with Sheriff Nocco to make sure that, continuing through early voting and of course for election day, that there's a safe and secure environment and there will be some, I'm confident about that."

The most common question among voters that Corley wants to clear up, "'Will we know [final results] on election night?' and for Florida, there's a good chance we will. However, you know, we need to just take a giant chill pill. It's never over on election night. Never was, never will be. Our men and women in the military have 10 days to get their ballots back. So the earliest election can be official would be November 13."

Post-election duties include additional votes to be tallied, double-checking unmatched signatures and investigating anything that may look suspicious. If you're a busy-body with lots to do, Corley's advice on best time to show up for quick voting access: "There's always the early morning push and an after work push. The best day would be this coming Sunday. Sundays are always our slowest days."

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