Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed an executive order expanding early voting access in three Florida counties devastated by Hurricane Ian.
The order allows Lee, Charlotte and Sarasota counties to add two additional early voting days, the Sunday and Monday before election day, along with additional early voting locations.
“They’re going to be able to set up super sites for people to go vote. If your precinct was destroyed and you have this super site,” DeSantis said Thursday while speaking in Cape Coral.
The order also allows for voters to request a mail-in ballot over the phone, without the usual signature requirement.
“You have to prove who you are, it’s not just ballots going out into the ether,” DeSantis said. “But, if your home got destroyed and you’re staying with your in-laws you can have them send the ballot to your in-laws.”
As southwest Florida recovers and rebuilds from Hurricane Ian, some experts are wondering what turnout will look like when election day comes in less than four weeks.
“I think for the people who are able to remain in the area, they are more likely to vote. Simply because they want to make sure the candidates they elect are the ones who are pushing for disaster relief, etc,” said Genya Coulter, Senior Elections Analyst for the non-partisan group OSET Institute.
Coulter says residents who are displaced are more likely to skip the election, especially newer state residents who may not be familiar with the state’s early voting and vote-by-mail programs.
“When you go to an early voting location you have people who have been through this before, they know what they’re doing,” Coulter said.
“If nothing else, they can reassure the voters, it’s ok, you can vote. This is the one thing you don’t have to worry about.”