Central Florida election offices use CARES funds to help cover additional expenses during pandemic

Deadline to register for August primary is July 20

Election workers sort vote-by-mail ballots for the presidential primary at King County Elections in Renton, Washington on March 10, 2020. (Photo by Jason Redmond / AFP) (Photo by JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images) (JASON REDMOND, JASON REDMOND/AFP/Getty Images)

Election supervisors across Central Florida are feeling the impacts of COVID-19 as they prepare for the 2020 election season. 

News 6 contacted all nine of the election offices in the region to learn how their departments were impacted by the pandemic. Many officials said they are receiving money from the CARES Act grant to help offset additional costs incurred that were not originally budgeted.

Lake County Supervisor of Elections Alan Hays said the Division of Elections determined how much money each county received based on a statewide formula.

"Every county starts at $50,000 and then you get so many dollars per registered voter and they're using the census of your registered voters on the book closing for the Presidential Preference Primary back during March," Hays said.

Here's how much Central Florida supervisor of elections offices are receiving and how they'll spend the federal dollars:

Brevard County:

The Brevard County Supervisor of Elections said they were approved to receive $588,280 after the office comes up with a 20% match. Officials said the funds will be used to cover the cost of mail ballot expansion.

Seminole County:

Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Chris Anderson said his office is receiving $531,000 in CARES Act funds. He said the money will help cover the additional expenses as more voters request a vote by mail ballot.

"That's going to help out greatly with the increase in vote by mail and just the cost of the supplies, the overtime that may be needed to get us through this season," Anderson said. 

Lake County:

Hays said his office is receiving $300,000 in federal funds. He said that money will help cover costs to purchase personal protective equipment for election workers, as well as preparing for more vote by mail ballots.

"We've expanded our vote by mail department, the physical plan itself, and that CARES money will help offset some of those costs," Hays said.

Orange County:

Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles said the county is getting $1.3 million in CARES funding. He said that will help cover the costs for PPE, more envelopes for vote by mail requests, more staff to verify signatures, as well as equipment to process vote by mail ballots and deep cleaning of polling places.

Marion County:

Officials with the Marion County Supervisor of Elections office said they are eligible for up to $359,810. Officials said they are applying for the funds, but don't know how much of those funds they will request or receive yet.

Osceola County:

The Osceola County Supervisor of Elections Office said it is receiving $326,128 from the state as part of the CARES Act funds. Officials with the elections office said the money will be used to pay for extra workers to handle vote by mail, extra training classes to allow for social distancing, more equipment to support expanded early voting, cleaning supplies and other COVID-19 related issues that come up.

Flagler County:

Officials with the Flagler County Supervisor of Elections said they plan to apply for grant funding.

News 6 requested information from Volusia and Sumter counties, but haven't heard back.

August 18th is the Primary Election. The deadline to register is July 20th.

About the Author:

Amanda Castro, a proud UCF alum, joined the News 6 team in November 2015 and was promoted to weekend morning anchor in April 2016. Go Knights!