ORLANDO, Fla. — Recovery efforts in Florida’s Panhandle region will likely take months, and for some even longer.
- 5 counties impacted by Hurricane Michael
- Some of the counties have limited resources
- Florida Secretary of State is in contact with supervisors
- DECISION 2018: Latest News | Voting Guide
The area was slammed by a near-category five storm. Hurricane Michael is blamed for billions of dollars in damage and at least 16 related deaths in Florida.
What cannot be changed is the date of Florida’s upcoming November 6 election.
Supervisors of elections across the panhandle are scrambling to get operations going to ensure residents will be able to vote.
Bay County Supervisor of Elections posted on its website that it is currently operating with very limited resources.
Franklin County Supervisor of Elections posted on its website that it is delaying voter machine testing and delaying Early Voting until October 27 through November 3.
Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner has met with officials in impacted counties, including Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gulf, and Liberty counties.
“The Department began reaching out to counties affected by Hurricane Michael even before the storm made landfall, and continued this immediately after it passed to begin determining any potential impacts to the administration of the upcoming General Election,” Secretary Detzner said. “My number one priority is ensuring that all registered voters, first responders and volunteers in affected areas are able to cast their vote safely and securely without any barriers.”
Voter registration deadlines have been extended for those in impacted counties.
Florida Department of State says county supervisors of elections are continuing to evaluate the full impact of the storm and what needs to be done to ensure voting operations are not affected.
“We will continue to work closely with supervisors and provide any needed assistance, as well as ensure updates are communicated to voters and the media once more information is available,” Detzner said.
Florida’s Panhandle region traditionally leans Republican overall.
The full extent of how many voters could be impacted is not yet clear. Of at least the five counties impacted, there are more than 152,000 registered voters; 47,240 Democrats, 74,161 Republicans, and 30,868 others/no party affiliation.
- Total Registered Voters: 120,953
- Total Registered Voters: 8,700
- Total Registered Voters: 7,768
- Total Registered Voters: 10,216
- Total Registered Voters: 4,378