SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – With nearly 328,000 registered voters, Seminole County Supervisor of Elections is expecting a large turnout for early voting during the general election. To prepare, they’re turning an old party store into a polling place.
“The data says that our Casselberry location, gets twice as many early voting votes than any other voting site in Seminole County,” Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Chris Anderson said.
To relieve some of the congestion from the Casselberry library precinct, Anderson said he took a drive looking for a location to serve voters in the East Altamonte area.
Anderson said he’s familiar with the area, he patrolled East Altamonte as a Deputy Sheriff a few years ago working for the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office. He said it’s a minority area with some families low income, who may not be able to travel far to get to a precinct.
“I patrolled the neighborhood right behind here, I knew there was a vacancy, it was a matter of finding the information and doing a little detective work and tracking the owners down,” Anderson said.
He wound up securing a vacant unit in the Gordon Foods Plaza off 436 in East Altamonte. The landlords are lending the property free of charge.
“As a hostage negotiator, I had to channel those skills. I reached out to the owners and stressed the importance of the need for voting in this region of the county,” Anderson said.
He said that would be the largest early voting site in the county at 10,000 square feet with plenty of parking. For those who don’t have a car, a Lynx bus stop is about a mile down the road.
“There’s going to be a large turnout. It’s a presidential year, people will come out to vote so we can process several voters in a short amount of time,” Anderson said.
But there is some work that needs to be done. Anderson said his team will get the floors cleaned, ceiling tiles replaced and power with air conditioning restored in time for voters to cast their ballots.
Business owners in the plaza said, not only do they hope by opening this new early voting site it will encourage more people to vote, but also give them a boost in business.
“I think it’s great, we needed something in the middle between Casselberry and Wekiva. For us, it’s easy to access, I can just walk over there,” Lenny Lacammare said.
Lacammare’s family owns Nonno’s Italian Restaurant in the plaza. He said the early voting site could be a win-win for voters and businesses like his in the plaza struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Hopefully this brings a lot of traffic to this shopping center, that would be great,” said Lacammare.
The polls open for early voting on Oc. 19 at 7 a.m. Anyone registered in Seminole County will be able to vote at the new East Altamonte location.