Lake Wales Expects High Voter Turnout
Last updated 4/5/2019 at 2:27pm
By 2 p.m. on election day Tuesday, April 2, more than 1,800 City of Lake Wales voters had cast ballots. With five hours to go, the number of votes cast was already 20 percent higher than in the most recent city election in 2017.
Nearly 1,500 vote by mail ballots had been received by the supervisor of elections office, and additional ballots would be accepted up to the 7 p.m. deadline.
City Clerk Jennifer Nanek said voting was going smoothly and turnout was definitely up.
In 2017 only about 16 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the city election. So far in the 2019 election almost as many voters mailed in ballots as voted in the entire 2017 election.
Nanek said as of 2 p.m. 182 had voted at the city administration building and 165 had voted at the Lake Ashton Clubhouse, a new polling site this year. In 2017, about 600 voted on election day at the only polling site at the city administration building and a little over 900 voted by mail.
Supervisor of Elections Lori Edwards did a special mailing encouraging people to request vote by mail ballots, and that mailing resulted in about 200 extra requests. About 3,200 automatically receive vote by mail ballots, but historically many do not vote in city elections.
Nanek said the canvassing board would start opening vote by mail ballot envelopes at about 5 p.m. and they would be fed into counters starting about 7 p.m.
Lakewalesnews.net also will be posting an updated story as soon as results are available.
City voters are being asked to choose the mayor, one city commissioner and to vote on a proposed charter amendment to extend commission terms from two years to three. Incumbent Mayor Eugene Fultz is being challenged by Bob Wood, who ran unsuccessfully for city commission in 2016. First-term incumbent Commissioner Curtis Gibson is being challenged by political newcomer James Tucker.
All four candidates spent some time at polling sites Tuesday.