If campaign signs translate into votes the Port St. Joe municipal election should have a stout turnout.
Early voting begins Saturday and continues over the following seven days, save Sunday, leading up to the May 14 general election.
“We have been clicking along,” said Supervisor of Elections John Hanlon, whose office not only has a city election in the loop but also a special election for the District 7 Florida House seat.
“So far we have mailed out about 250 absentee ballots and the level of calls before this election is pretty much in line with city elections.”
Hanlon and staff also understand the circumstances of this election cycle, roughly seven months post Hurricane Michael.
The important item for every voter is photo/signature identification.
All addresses, Hanlon said, may not align with that on voter registration.
“We know we have a lot of displaced voters, voters who are living in trailers on their property,” Hanlon said. “As long as their intention is to move back into that address, we are fine.
“We have a lot of folks in that boat, whose address may not match that on their voter registration. It is not an issue we are going to be pressing people about.”
All voting this cycle, early and Election Day, will take place in Hanlon’s office at 401 Long Ave.
Early voting will take place 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. ET each day of early voting, which ends May 11.
On Election Day, May 14, voting will be 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. ET.
Because of the use of the fire station has an emergency disaster outpost since Hurricane Michael, the city decided in March to schedule Election Day voting for Hanlon’s office.
There are two races.
The mayor/commissioner race has three candidates, with incumbent Mayor Bo Patterson facing former commissioner Rex Buzzett and Christy McElroy, seeking her first elected office.
In a non-partisan general election with three or more candidates there is a chance for a runoff.
“If nobody receives 50 percent-plus one, the top two candidates would go to a runoff,” Hanlon said.
The runoff, under normal timelines, would be June 18, which is Election Day for the House District 7 special election.
Hanlon said it would be his recommendation to move the runoff back one week.
The other race involves incumbent Eric Langston, the Group 1 seat and a challenge from Cassie Studstill, seeking elected office for the first time.