It won’t open until January, and the midterm elections are even farther off, but the Pasco County Supervisor of Elections is already eyeing Pasco-Hernando Community College’s Porter Campus at Wiregrass as a possible early voting site.
Corley mentioned the idea during the monthly meeting of the Greater Wesley Chamber of Commerce’s monthly meeting of its economic development committee.
After the meeting, Corley said he hasn’t talked with PHCC officials about the potential early voting site, but he thinks it would be a convenient location.
The new satellite campus of PHCC is being built on Mansfield Boulevard, off SR 56, just east of The Shops at Wiregrass.
“It’s a great location, geographically,” Corley said.
New legislation passed during the last session of the Florida Legislature allows supervisors of election more flexibility than they had in the past on where to place early voting sites, Corley said. Before, those sites could only be located at election offices, city halls or libraries.
That meant that Wesley Chapel voters had to go seven miles east to New River Branch Library or almost as far in the other direction to the Land O’ Lakes Branch Library to vote, Corley said.
Corley wants to make it easier for people who live and work in Wesley Chapel to cast their early ballots.
Having an early polling site in Wesley Chapel would make it easier for people to vote before and after work, as well as during lunch, Corley said.
During his talk at the chamber, Corley also noted another change in state law that he thinks is beneficial.
In previous elections, anyone who voted by mail had to sign the outside of the envelope for the vote to be counted, Corley said. Some voters forgot to do so and the votes would not be counted. That affected 109 voters in Pasco during the last election.
Now, thanks to legislation championed by House Speaker Will Weatherford, “they can send an affidavit in affirming they only voted once,” Corley said. “Their vote will count.”
He’s glad the law changed because he thinks every vote is important.
Only 537 votes separated Al Gore and George Bush in 2000, Corley said.
He cited two much closer votes in Zephyrhills.
“We had two annexation elections in Zephyrhills. One where a one-vote difference for won and the other one, one-vote difference against won,” Corley said.
Corley said he thinks it’s interesting to compare voter turnout for presidential elections and midterms.
The midterm election has the governor on the ballot, the entire Cabinet, state representatives, state senate, two county commission seats and three school board seats.
“The county commission and the school board, to me, have more impact on our lives as citizens, than the president,” Corley said.
“Then, why is it when the president is on the ballot, it’s 75 percent and when it’s a midterm – we had 46 percent in 2010. It should almost be the opposite,” Corley said.