Voter Turnout Appears Light for April 6 City Election
Last updated 4/6/2021 at 10:44am
In person voters in the April 6 Lake Wales municipal election trickled in with only 139 casting ballots during the first few hours.
A total of 9,790 Lake Wales citizens are eligible to vote in 2021. That's only a net increase of about 20 registered voters more than were eligible for the April 2020 election.
As of the end of the day Monday, April 5 a total of 1,174 Lake Wales voters had cast ballots early or by mail. That's on par with the early and absentee votes in the April 2020 election. In the 2019 city election, 1,275 voted early or by mail and another 538 voted on election day at the polls. Ballots must be received by 7 p.m. election day to be counted.
With only one race on the ballot and in the throes of a pandemic, only about 15 percent of those eligible turned out for the April 2020 election – 1,420 total - with about 63 percent of them voting to re-elect Robin Gibson. Nearly 400 fewer voted than in 2019.
With two contested commission races and seven proposed charter amendments on the ballot and more citizens fully vaccinated for COVID-19, a slightly higher turnout was hoped for this year. But as of about 10:20 a.m. election day only 86 people had voted in person at the James P. Austin Center and 53 at the Lake Ashton Clubhouse.
Incumbent Commissioner Al Goldstein is being challenged by newcomer Kris Fitzgerald for Seat 4. With Commissioner Curtis Gibson deciding not to seek re-election, Seat 2 will have a new occupant – either Ricardo Navarro or Daniel Williams.
Goldstein, Fitzgerald and Williams said they were visiting the two city polling sites on election day. Williams set up a table across the street from the Austin Center, holding a sign and waving to voters. Goldstein expressed concern that in-person turnout appeared light.
Navarro has ignored repeated attempts from LakeWalesNews.net – by email, text and phone message - to contact him about the campaign and his financial report filed April 2 that did not include expenses for a recent postcard mailer.