INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Sebastian and Vero Beach have city council elections next month. Registered voters can cast their ballots on Election Day or by mail ballot in advance. But not in early voting.
It's not worth the money to offer the early-voting option on Nov. 2 to Sebastian's 19,003 registered voters or to Vero Beach's 11,000 registered voters, city official say.
Both cities do piggyback their early voting when there's a countywide ballot and some other government is picking up the tab.
Going without early voting is a cost-saving measure, explained Sebastian City Clerk Jeanette Williams, citing growing costs to hold elections. She could not estimate how much early voting would cost.
Likewise, Vero Beach City Clerk Tammy Bursick said the City Council there several years ago decided early voting was too expensive and wouldn’t generate enough turnout to warrant the extra expense. She hasn't asked the Supervisor of Elections Office in years for a cost estimate for early voting in a local-election year, she said.
Vero Beach already pays about $35,000 to the Supervisor of Elections Office to hold the City Council election in years where there's no county, state or national election, Bursick said. It's about $6,000 less when there's a countywide election.
Last year’s Sebastian recall election cost the city more than $40,000, Williams said, and she expects the Nov. 2 election to cost around $60,000.
The cost of early voting for a local city would be determined by the number of polling places, and cost of printing, said Elections Supervisor Leslie Swan.
Mail-in ballots still are available for voters who want to avoid going to the polls Nov. 2. Voters who want a mail-in ballot sent to them have until 5 p.m. Saturday to request it. After that, mail-in ballots can be picked up at the Supervisor of Elections Office, 4375 43rd Ave., Vero Beach, Chief Elections Deputy Maureen Houssel said.
Mail-in ballots can be returned either by mail or placed in to a secure box at the elections office during normal business hours. The elections office will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election Day to receive mail-in ballots.
Overseas and military ballots were mailed Sept. 17, and ballots to county residents who requested them were mailed Sept. 23.
Anyone who has an emergency such as illness or quarantine that prohibits them from picking-up a mail-in ballot can designate someone to pick-up a ballot for them by completing an affidavit with the elections office.
“Last year, we had people come into the office saying their spouse has COVID-19 and still wanted to vote,” said Houssel. “Voters can designate someone to pick up a ballot. And even if you’re admitted to a hospital on Election Day, you can sign an affidavit and have someone pick up a ballot for you.”
Sebastian voters will choose three City Council members from among six candidates: Damien Lee Gilliams; Frederick Jones; Sherrie Matthews; Bob McPartlan; Christopher Nunn; and Clint Phipps.
Vero Beach has a seven-candidate field for two City Council seats: John Cotugno, Ken Daige, Taylor Dingle, Brian Heady, Rey Neville, Charles Wilson and Tracey Zudans.
Sebastian and Vero Beach, as well as Fellsmere, also have proposed changes to their city charters on the ballot.
Staff writer Colleen Wixon contributed to this report. She is the Indian River County government watchdog reporter for TCPalm.com. Follow her on Twitter @TCPalmWixon.
Janet Begley is a local freelance writer. If you like articles like this and other TCPalm coverage of Treasure Coast news, please support our journalism and subscribe now.
Source : https://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/2021/10/22/sebastian-vero-voters-can-vote-early-mail-but-not-early-voting/6111294001/834