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Elections officials reach out to voters

The three back-to-back hurricanes might have distracted you, but a national election is coming up,and if you want to vote, you have less than two weeks to register.

Oct. 4 is the deadline to register to vote for anyone who wants to participate in the Nov. 2 election. The Supervisor of Elections Office will remain open late (until 7 p.m.) that day to accommodate late arrivals.

So far, according to voter education coordinator Tammy Smith, potential voters haven't exactly been lining up at the supervisor's office. That's not terribly unusual, she said: "Usually it starts the last couple weeks before. We're trying to get the word out."

But with attention shifted elsewhere during this last month, the supervisor's office is trying to ensure that registering to vote doesn't get lost in the shuffle. Office employees are heading into the field to register those who aren't coming to them.

"With all the hurricane stuff these last two weeks," Smith said, "we've been cramming, trying to get all the voter registration drives in."

From high schools to Citrus Memorial Hospital, from the cattleman's association to area banks, the supervisor's office will be registering voters around the county between now and Oct. 4.

The supervisor's office in Crystal River is closed temporarily for repairs after damages from Frances. The office hopes to reopen by Oct. 18, the day that early voting begins.

Early voting, available at the Inverness and Crystal River offices of the supervisor and the Central Ridge Library, will run through Nov. 1. In the primary, 25 percent of voters cast ballots early or by absentee.

As of Monday, 89,261 people were registered in Citrus. That figure is 10,000 more than were eligible in the 2002 general election. The supervisor's office expects to surpass the 90,000 mark by Oct. 4, Smith said.

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