Over the past 10 years, the number of Collier County voters exercising their right to vote during Early Voting and by Absentee/Mail ballot has steadily increased. During the 2010 General Election, 71% of eligible Marco Island voters cast their ballot early – nearly 40% voted during Early Voting and 31% cast an Absentee/Mail ballot. Conversely, voting on Election Day has continued to decline.
Considering this voting trend, the Collier County Supervisor of Elections Office is making changes to precinct boundaries and consolidating precincts to improve voter services and better serve the voters of Collier County.
In developing the consolidation plan, each location was analyzed and consideration was given to the number of registered voters, Election Day voter turnout, proximity of precincts, number of ballot types or styles, and the availability of compliant polling place locations.
For Marco Island voters, three polling places will be affected by the consolidation plan:
• St. Mark’s Episcopal Church – Precinct 191 voters will now vote at Marco Presbyterian Church (190), 875 W. Elkcam Circle.
• Mackle Community Park – Precinct 192 & 196 voters will now vote at United Church of Marco Island (193), 320 N. Barfield Drive.
• Jewish Congregation of Marco Island – Precinct 195 voters will now vote at the Marco Lutheran Church (194), 525 N. Collier Blvd.
For surrounding areas – Everglades City, Goodland and Chokoloskee – no polling places are expected to change at this time, only precinct numbering.
Any voter affected by a polling place or precinct number change will be mailed a new voter information card indicating their new precinct number and/or polling location.
Since replacing paper poll books with electronic poll books to validate and check in voters during Early Voting and on Election Day, the sign-in process is more efficient and has reduced voter wait times. This technology allows election workers to rapidly identify voters, determine voter eligibility and to issue the correct ballot.
Countywide, the consolidation plan will be implemented in phases. The Supervisor of Elections Office plans to reduce the number of polling places from 83 to approximately 60. While some polling places may remain in the same location, some precincts may be renumbered. Precinct renumbering will greatly depend on the outcome of the redistricting map plans selected by the Collier County Board of County Commissioners.
The steady increase in Early Voting and Absentee/Mail ballot voting and the continued decline in Election Day voting have significantly changed the model for voting over the past 10 years. Accordingly, the Collier County Supervisor of Elections Office remains proactive by modifying processes to provide the best possible service to the voters of Collier County.