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Laid Back Atmosphere Greets Voters at Arcadia Polling Place

This is Miss Lucy of Arcadia, FL. She is a stroke & a COVID-19 survivor. She’s spending the day at her polling place, supporting a local candidate. To her, it doesn’t matter who you vote for. “Be nice and keep going.”
This is Miss Lucy of Arcadia, FL. She is a stroke & a COVID-19 survivor. She’s spending the day at her polling place, supporting a local candidate. To her, it doesn’t matter who you vote for. “Be nice and keep going.”

Valerie VandePanne reports from DeSoto County.

Julie Glenn: This is WGCU News. I'm Julie Glenn. I'm on the phone right now with Valerie Vande Panne, one of our reporters who's been out and about all day today checking election polling places on election day. Valerie, where are you now?

Valerie Vande Panne: I'm in Arcadia.

Julie Glenn: Arcadia's in DeSoto County, correct?

Valerie Vande Panne: Yes, it is. I am at the 5th and 6th precincts, which are at the House of God Church on South Alabama Avenue.

Julie Glenn: So, what have you been seeing there?

Valerie Vande Panne: It's a beautiful day. It's a Black community. Community members are hanging out across the street from the polling site. They're talking, they're drinking sodas, they're sharing time together. And really just enjoying a beautiful, beautiful day. Very peaceful. People have been going in and out. There are no long lines, but there's definitely some voting traffic. And the folks outside feel really good about it. They feel really good about the community coming together to vote. Doesn't matter who they're voting for just what's important is that they're out and they're voting.

Julie Glenn: Well, that's unusual because it seems like we keep hearing about stress and tension, but you're not seeing that there at all.

Valerie Vande Panne: No, none of that is in this community. It's very relaxed. If people drive by everybody's waving, everybody is supportive of one another. And it's just really, really a nice place to be.

Julie Glenn: Is anybody holding or waving signs, or anything? Or are they just kind of hanging out?

Valerie Vande Panne: There are some people waving signs for the tax collector candidate, who the supporters are very enthusiastic about. But that's not all that is out here. There's those supporters, but it's more community. And as one of the community members told me, "It doesn't matter who you vote for. What matters is that you come out and you vote. We're all united here." One of the things she told me, it was really beautiful. She said, "Just be nice and move on." Just be nice and move on.

Julie Glenn: That is really encouraging to hear. Valerie, thank you so much for your reporting today.

Valerie Vande Panne: Thank you.