Long lines mark first day of early voting on Marco Island
It was not the rain but the hour-long wait that kept some Islanders from casting their ballot during the first day of early voting Monday.
Many who spoke to the Marco Eagle, but did not want to provide their name, said they could not wait an hour in line to vote at the Marco branch library.
"I can't stand that long so I'm leaving," one man said.
Still others did power through.
"It was worth the wait," one woman said.
On Monday, 803 people voted on Marco compared to 971 during the first day of early voting in 2016, said Trish Robertson, public relations officer with Collier County Supervisor of Elections.
In all county precincts, 7,397 voted Monday compared to 7,634 during the first day of early voting in 2016.
Robertson said people who can't wait long in line can request a vote-by-mail ballot and bring it to an official drop box, come back Sunday when the waiting time is expected to be shorter or go to another precinct.
Kim Rubash, Marco resident, said she voted early on Tuesday because she wanted to make sure her vote was counted in light of recent isolated reports of lost or discarded mailed ballots.
"I want to have a say in the election," she said.
Islander Jack Zahrobsky said he waited in line for 45 minutes on Tuesday because many mailed ballots are rejected.
Florida's primary rejected 31,000 mail ballots for reasons like a bad signature, no signature or arriving after Election Day, Florida Times-Union reported earlier this month.
"I want to make sure my vote is counted," Zahrobsky said.
John and Kathy Ryan said they waited an hour in line to vote Tuesday because they expect the lines to be even longer on Election Day.
Kathy Ryan said she does not trust the mail ballot system, and John Ryan said it has received negative press coverage like when a ballot drop box in a California town was set on fire Sunday damaging up to 100 ballots.
"We want our votes to be counted," John Ryan said.
Approximately 2,220 mailed ballots were deposited Monday in drop boxes in Collier, according to estimates Robertson provided to the Eagle.
Early voting ends Oct. 31, and requests for vote-by-mail ballots sent by mail must be received by the Supervisor of Elections office no later than 5 p.m., Oct. 24. Mailed ballots may be returned by mail or at any drop box location during early voting.
Vote-by-mail drop box locations are:
- Collier County Government Complex – 3311 Tamiami Trl E, Naples
- Everglades City Hall – 102 Copeland Avenue N, Everglades City
- Golden Gate Community Center – 4701 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples
- Immokalee Community Park – 321 N 1st St, Immokalee
- Library Headquarters – 2385 Orange Blossom Drive, Naples
- Marco Island Library – 210 S Heathwood Drive, Marco Island
- Norris Center – 755 8th Ave S, Naples
- North Collier Regional Park – 15000 Livingston Road, Naples
- Supervisor of Elections Office – 3750 Enterprise Ave, Naples