Wednesday was the first day of in-person early voting in Manatee County; but at least one resident left without voting at one site because of delays caused by early morning printer problems. A Bradenton resident phoned WMNF to say he left the public utilities site after at least ten minutes of waiting for staff to fix a printing problem. But Manatee Supervisor of Elections Michael Bennett laughed about the problem, saying it was simple and quickly fixed.
“Are you ready for this?”
“They didn’t turn on the machine. (Laughter) They didn’t turn it on. Just operator error. They kept trying to make something very, very complicated and by the time they figured it out — hmm, it’s not a wire connection, it’s not a hard-wire connection — somebody turned it off. They turned it back on and away they went. (Laughter) I know it sounds crazy, but I wish I had a really complicated story for that, but there is none.”
Do you know how long that it was out and about how many people may have gone away from the polls?
“I don’t think anybody left the polls because they really discovered it just as they were first coming in. So they discovered it prior to that. So it worked out pretty good. I don’t believe that they lost anybody at all.”
So, just a matter of a few minutes?
“Yeah, when we talked to the people out there they said, ‘No. Nobody left. They were there.’ It’s interesting — the ones who go there early, they’re like myself. They’ve got a few years on them, got a little bit of patience. They understand when that thing first opens up it’s so easy to have some kind of a minor block like that. But, yeah, it’s interesting that — it would be more fun to tell you, ‘Well, we had a break in this particular line and the computer or the Internet …’ They didn’t turn a machine on. (Laughter) But they caught it right away.”
Bennett also suggested that people vote early, before Election Day.
Here’s a list of Manatee County early voting locations:
Dates: Wednesday, October 24, 2018 through Saturday, November 3, 2018
Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. daily
Manatee County Utilities Administration Offices
4410 66th St W Bradenton FL 34210
Lakewood Ranch Town Hall
8175 Lakewood Ranch Blvd Lakewood Ranch FL 34202
923 6th St W Palmetto FL 34221
Rocky Bluff Library
6750 US Hwy 301 Ellenton FL 34222
Supervisor of Elections Office
600 301 Blvd W
Bradenton FL 34205