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Local election leaders discuss voting plans for nursing homes

Posted at 10:17 PM, Sep 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-30 11:25:37-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla — Right now, in Florida, there are more than 70,000 people living in nursing homes, long term care facilities, and senior living centers.

And though Governor Ron DeSantis recently gave those places the green light for visitors, many are still playing it safe.

So, what does that mean when it comes to voting?

Greg Anderson, the Executive Director for Gulf Coast Village says their team has been working for months to make sure people who live there could vote safely.

"Prior to covid-19 we were a polling place, so our residents voted right here on campus," said Anderson,"Just again this week, they met with the residents at each level of care to make sure that everybody who wanted to vote could vote. That absentee ballots were ordered for them. Or if they wanted to go to the polling places, we've reserved one bus to take residents on a socially distanced ride to the polling place."

The Lee County Supervisor of Elections, Tommy Doyle, says those facilities can have mail in ballots dropped off in bulk. And while a staffer can return them, they can't pick them up.

"We would have to take them, or we would have to use our bonded courier," he said.

It's a topic the League of Women Voters of Florida has also been keeping a close eye on this topic.

The group's president Patricia Brigham has some advice for anyone who has concerns about voting while in one of those facilities.

"Talk with the administration of that particular facility and also have a conversation with the supervisor of elections," she said.

In Lee County, they're still encouraging as many people as possible, including those who live in one of these facilities, to vote by mail and do this as soon as you're done:

"Return them early so we can start processing and keep ahead of the game," said Doyle.

Also on FOX 4: Governor DeSantis has moved Florida into Phase 3 of his re-opening plan.

So what does that mean for our local schools?

FOX 4's Christina Evans spoke to the president of the Lee County Teacher's Association to see how he feels about schools expanding in-person learning.

Key Dates and Deadlines in Florida

Tues, Nov. 3: In-Person Voting
Fri, Nov. 13: Absentee/Mail-In Delivered By Date