St. Patrick’s Day, coronavirus prompt precinct changes for March 17 primary

BY RYAN CALLIHAN

MANATEE

Staffing shortages and coronavirus concerns have prompted the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections to combine some voting precincts for the presidential preference primary on March 17.

“The (primary) falls on St. Patrick’s Day and during Spring Break week,” Supervisor of Elections Michael Bennett said in a release. “Many of our usual poll workers are not available to work due to having family in town, and some simply want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.”

“This, coupled with the fact that the Governor has declared a state of emergency due to the virus outbreak has created some last-minute precinct staffing challenges for March 17th,” he added.

To resolve those staffing issues, Bennett has directed his team to combine a few precincts. These changes only apply to the March 17, 2020 election. Voters in the affected areas are expected to use their usual precincts for future elections.

The changes are as follows:

  • Voters who use Precinct 107: Palmetto Point Civic Association will instead vote at Precinct 201: Family of God United Methodist Church at 5601 16th Ave. E. in Palmetto.
  • Voters who use Precinct 411: Plantation Village West Rec. Hall will instead vote at Precinct 413: Sara Bay Baptist Church at 415 67th Ave. W. in Bradenton.
  • Voters who use Precinct 403: the South Manatee Library, Precinct 405: Trailer Estates Auditorium and Precinct 407: Midway Church of Church will all vote instead at Precinct 421: Bayshore Gardens Recreational Center, 6919 26th St. W. in Bradenton.

“We believe these changes will allow us to address the challenges faced by the Supervisor’s office while providing adequately staffed, convenient and secure polling locations for the voters affected,” the release said.

Voters in Manatee County can visit any one of the five early voting locations to turn in vote-by-mail or fill out an early ballot. According to Bennett, those looking to vote early won’t experience any wait times. Early voting is available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day until Saturday at the following locations:

  • Supervisor of Elections Office, 600 301 Blvd. W., Bradenton
  • Lakewood Ranch Town Hall, 8175 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Lakewood Ranch
  • Manatee County Utilities Administration Office, 4410 66th St. W., Bradenton
  • Palmetto Library, 923 Sixth St. W., Palmetto
  • Rocky Bluff Library, 6750 U.S. 301, Ellenton

For more information, visit VoteManatee.com or call (941) 741-3823.

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