Before you vote on Tuesday, make sure you check the location of your polling place. Voting locations have changed for many who will be voting in Tuesday’s special election for Lakeland city commissioner. And for quite a few voters, postcards that arrived in the mail last week contained incorrect locations.
Three candidates are running in the race to fill the remaining three years in the term begun a year ago by former southwest district Commissioner Michael Dunn, who resigned from office in October. They are Patrick Shawn Jones, Sara Roberts McCarley and Bill Watts. (View a sample ballot.)
To save on election expenses, the city of Lakeland reduced the number of polling places from 25 to 12 for Tuesday’s special election and also for a Feb. 12 runoff that will take place if no candidate gets a majority on Tuesday.
As a result, many voters will go to a location where they haven’t voted before.
A snafu last week made the situation more confusing. The City Clerk’s Office mailed postcards to all households in city limits where at least one registered voter lives to let them know where to vote.
Unfortunately, the cards listed the regular polling place, so the information was incorrect for voters being assigned a new location.
New postcards were mailed Tuesday night to households that received incorrect information, City Clerk Kelly Koos said this morning.
In addition, advertisements being placed in The Ledger on Friday and Sunday will show the sample ballot and list all of the correct polling places, she said. (Check a list of polling places.)
On Tuesday, large signs in English and Spanish will be placed at closed polling places directing voters to the correct locations, Koos said.
Still, she said, voters should verify their voting location online or by calling the Lakeland City Clerk’s Office at 863-834-6210 or the Polk Supervisor of Elections Office at 863-534-5888.
Polling places will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Registered voters who live within Lakeland city limits are eligible to vote in the non-partisan election.
OTHER VOTING METHODS
Vote-by-Mail ballots must be received by the Supervisor of Elections Office by 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
Early voting is available 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, Friday and Monday at Supervisor of Elections Offices in Bartow (250 S. Broadway Ave.) and Winter Haven (70 Florida Citrus Blvd.).
As of Tuesday, 18,343 Lakeland voters had received mail ballots for the special election, and 3,900 had been returned, according to Betsy Cleveland with the Polk Supervisor of Elections Office.
In all, 65,790 people are eligible to vote in the special election. (View a breakdown of Lakeland voters.)
Koos said she doesn’t yet know the cost of mailing the second batch of postcards.