More than 1,500 people in the Florida Keys are listed on the Monroe County voter registration rolls with a home address of the county courthouse on Whitehead Street in Key West.
An additional eight voters live at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park in Key West and at least 60 are liveaboards, with the lot amounting to nearly 3 percent of the entire voting population.
What gives in an election year where personal attacks, crude comments and conspiracy theories have swamped the internet and social media? Nothing much, says Monroe County Supervisor of Elections Joyce Griffin.
“Everybody calls it the ‘courthouse district,’” Griffin said of the 1,500 voters using the courthouse as a home address. “It’s military people who are going to come back here but don’t live here — they vote at the courthouse. That’s the law.”
There are also voters who live overseas but registered to vote in Monroe County before moving to countries such as Spain or Germany in the interim.
“We mail ballots around the world,” Griffin said.
Boat dwellers also vote in the courthouse district. “Except for people tied to shore,” Griffin added.
Griffin also weighed in on recent online posts claiming to report how many Republicans and Democrats have returned absentee ballots. Absentee ballots are not touched until voting closes Nov. 8, she said.
But the party designation of absentees turned in is available only to candidates who have signed certain forms. They receive a daily drop of spreadsheet information via the county elections website, she said. It still doesn’t disclose who anyone voted for and is not public information. Griffin vowed to go after anyone leaking the data.
“I will prosecute; it’s against the law,” Griffin said.
80% turnout predicted
The turnout for early voting for the Nov. 8 presidential election rose to 28 percent and climbing by Thursday night, according to Griffin, who predicted an 80 percent turnout overall.
“It’s always 80 percent for a presidential year with no incumbent,” Griffin said. “In the first three days of early voting we’ve beat all our records.”
At the start of Friday’s early voting, 5,108 had already cast ballots and 10,228 absentee ballots had been received, Griffin said, making turnout more than 28 percent.
Early voting is from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Nov. 5 at these sites:
▪ 530 Whitehead St. in Key West.
▪ The Big Pine Key Community Park at 31009 Atlantis Drive (at the end of Sands Road).
▪ 10015 Overseas Highway (U.S. 1 and 100th Street) in Marathon.
▪ The Islamorada library at mile marker 81.8 bayside.
▪ The Murray E. Nelson Government and Cultural Center at mile marker 102 bayside.
Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen