Monday, May 21, 2018
Politics

Hernando County's early voters still facing long lines

BROOKSVILLE — Terri Seidler didn't mind waiting 30 minutes in line to vote Tuesday at the Supervisor of Elections Office in Brooksville. The way Seidler figured, if she were to visit her polling place in Spring Hill during next Tuesday's general election, her wait would be much longer.

"I can just imagine what a crazy place that's going to be," said Seidler, 43. "I work during the week, so I just don't have the time for that."

That seems to be a common assumption among many Hernando voters. As of Tuesday afternoon — on the fourth of eight days of early voting — 5,397 of the county's 123,332 registered voters had cast early ballots at the county's two elections offices.

Much of the enthusiasm likely revolves around the ballot itself. The double-sided ballot includes presidential, U.S. Senate and House contests; state races; 11 constitutional questions; six local races, plus two referendum questions.

Hernando Supervisor of Elections Annie Williams said her office is predicting heavy voter turnout next Tuesday and is encouraging people to take advantage of early and absentee voting, which can help avoid long lines on Election Day.

However, early voters who showed up this past weekend at the main Supervisor of Elections Office in Brooksville and at the Westside Government Office on Forest Oaks Boulevard in Spring Hill quickly found that many others had the same idea.

Jose and Sherry Tarrio brought their sons to the Forest Oaks office on Sunday afternoon, hoping to give the boys, ages 6 and 9, a firsthand civics lesson. The couple abandoned the plan after about 10 minutes in line.

"The line was moving slowly, so we figured it would take an hour," Jose said.

The Tarrios returned Monday about 1 p.m, but found a line about the same length as the previous day. They wound up waiting in line for nearly 90 minutes.

Jose Tarrio said that completing the ballot took about 10 minutes, thanks to a sample ballot he had filled out ahead of time and brought with him.

He recommended that others do the same. Otherwise, he said, "You're going to be there for a long time."

Williams said that early voters might be able to save themselves some trouble by going to the elections office website — hernandovotes.com — where up-to-the-minute status reports on wait times are posted throughout the day.

Staff writer Tony Marrero contributed to this report. Logan Neill can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1435.

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