VIDEO: Supervisor of Elections expects increase in voter turnout

Voter turnout expected to rise

Supervisor of Elections predicts increase in voters

Elections 2010 Page:

• Everglades City Hall – 102 Copeland Avenue, Everglades City

• Golden Gate Library – 2432 Lucerne Road, Naples

• Immokalee Library – 417 N. First Street, Immokalee

• Library Headquarters – 2385 Orange Blossom Drive, Naples

• Marco Island Library – 210 S Heathwood Drive, Marco Island

• Naples City Hall - 735 8th Street S., Naples

• Supervisor of Elections Office – 3301 U.S. 41 E., Naples

— During the past six years Collier County primary elections have attracted only 18 percent of the voters. That turnout pales in comparison to presidential elections when 70 percent or more of Florida voters cast a ballot.

This primary Jennifer Edwards, Collier County’s Supervisor of Elections, expects to see higher voter turnout.

“24 percent is what we are predicting,” Edwards said.

Numerous factors affect voter turnout such as age and income, according to Peter Bergerson, a professor of public affairs at Florida Gulf Coast University.

“Voting is a real complicated process,” Bergerson said. “People have to first of all make up their minds who they are going to vote for. They also have to be motivated to go to the polls.”

The time of the year may also have a negative impact on primary elections.

“August is hot,” Bergerson said. “It tends to be leisure time. It’s not political season.”

Edwards predicts an increased voter turnout this year because people appear to be more involved in the process and heeding the call of candidates.

“They’ve pushed people to our website,” she said. “They’ve pushed people to request absentee ballots.”

She also says absentee ballot requests are up 42 percent this year compared to the last primary election.

Voters in district four will choose their county commissioner this election, and the candidates are optimistic about turnout.

“I think it will be higher than normal,” said incumbent Fred Coyle. “We’ve had an extraordinarily large number of absentee ballot requests submitted to the supervisor of elections.”

Candidate Lavigne Ann Kirkpatrick also believes there will be an influx of voters.

“I think we’re going to see maybe 25 percent, 30 percent of the people,” she said. “I think there are a lot of things making them go to the polls.”

This election is a closed primary so depending on party affiliation voters will see different ballots.

“In the closed primary you can only vote in the party you are registered,” Edwards said.

The Collier County School Board races are non-partisan and open to all voters.

Early voting begins Aug. 9 and runs through Aug. 21 on Mondays through Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. Voters can also continue to request absentee ballots up until the election by calling 252-8450 or visiting www.colliervotes.com.

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