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Why Early Voting Can Not Happen


Opinion and Analysis

For nearly a week there have been rumors mixed with facts swirling about Early Voting for the Apopka Municipal Runoff Election.

The Apopka Voice has reached out to several people with first-hand knowledge. Nearly all have spoken to us on the record.

Over the weekend Bill Cowles, Orange County Supervisor of Elections, contacted Mayor Joe Kilsheimer and offered to hold Early Voting in Apopka at the County's expense. The Mayor's initial response indicated that a suitable location was not available. At some point the contents of the Mayor's December 2, 2015 Proclamation was also raised as an issue.

On Tuesday morning Commissioner Arrowsmith called County Commissioner Bryan Nelson and asked Nelson for help in finding a County-owned location for Early Voting. Nelson first checked on the availability of the NW Orange County Library. When that location was not available he then secured the John Bridges Community Center.

But then people started looking at the City Code and State Statutes. The pertinent part of the City Code reads as follows:

"Pursuant to F.S. § 100.3605, the City of Apopka shall not be subject to the provisions of F.S. § 101.657 (1) (a-d) for municipal elections.

However, the city council shall retain the ability to conduct early voting or contract with the Orange County Supervisor of Elections to conduct early voting pursuant to F.S. § 101.657 as and when the city council determines early voting would be in the best interest of the city. Such early voting shall be conducted on dates and times set forth by resolution, applicable only to the present general election. Said resolution shall be adopted not less than 60 days prior to the city general election."

The only resolution adopted by the City Council was on June 17, 2015. On that day the City Council adopted Ordinance #2436 which established the dates of the General and Runoff Elections. There was no mention of Early Voting in the Ordinance.

Mayor Kilsheimer issued an election Proclamation on December 2, 2015. The Proclamation referenced Ordinance #2436 and called for Runoff Early Voting to happen only at the Supervisor of Elections Office. Since the Ordinance did not mention Early Voting we are not sure why it was included in the Proclamation.

In any event, our conclusion is that Early Voting can not happen because the City Council never authorized it 60 days prior to the General Election.



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