FORT MYERS, Fla.-- Changes to early voting within Fort Myers city limits has left many residents confused. Unlike previous years, voters are unable to participate in early voting at the Lee County Supervisor of Elections office.
"I said I'm going to get out and vote early so I don't have to be in that line when voting time comes so that's why i got out," said resident Bettie Giles.
Like most folks, Bettie Giles has her prefered voting method. Unfortunately, her plans of voting at the Supervisor of Elections office in downtown Fort Myers won't work.
The elections office made the decision to not hold early voting after saying past experiences turned out to be logistical nightmares.
"Last time we had people crowding that whole lobby downstairs in 2012," said Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington.
But local leaders in the community said that's no excuse to not have a single early voting location within city limits.
"Don't diminish the opportunity, don't disenfranchise people from wanting to come to their own constitutional buildings that they pay for and cast their ballot," said councilman Johnny Streets.
Copies of emails show councilman streets and Harrington going back and forth about the issue since early August.
"I'm not going to go away, I'm going to be relentless until we are able to vote in that particular office," said Streets.
The only problem with that strategy is the fact that the elections office is required to submit locations to the state 30 days prior to early voting beginning, so no changes can be made this time around. As for future elections, Harrington says there's no early voting location options within city limits, at least as of yet.
"Maybe by that time our new hotel will be up and going downtown which should have plenty of parking and that might be an option at that point," said Harrington.
Harrington went on to say there are two other options voters can choose. The first is to sign up to receive your ballot by mail and the second is to head out to the polls available within the city on Election Day.