Dunbar vote-by-mail drop box added to improve voter access
Polling locations in Lee County have been reduced from 97 to only 12 due to devastating impacts from Hurricane Ian. For residents of the historically Black community of Dunbar, the closest voting location accessible is a 55-minute walk in each direction.
Following an advocacy letter from groups like the Lee County NAACP, the Legal Defense Fund, and the League of Women Voters of Lee County, Lee County Supervisor of Elections Tommy Doyle is adding another vote-by-mail drop box at the Dunbar-Jupiter Hammon Public Library in Fort Myers.
Michael Pernick, attorney with the Legal Defense Fund, says the coalition was concerned about the lack of voting access for Dunbar residents.
“We looked at the locations of the 12 sites," said Pernick.
"We looked at the demographics in Lee County, and the Dunbar community, which is predominantly Black, didn't have close geographic access. All 12 of the open locations were in white communities. It's very important for this community to have options and have the ability to have their vote cast and have their vote counted.”
Lee County Supervisor of Elections Tommy Doyle is reminding voters that the new drop box at the Dunbar-Jupiter Hammon Public Library in Fort Myers is NOT a voting site.
“People who want to drop off a vote-by-mail package can drop it off there, but that's not a voting site," said Doyle. "The nearest voting site is the Fort Myers Regional Library downtown, or Schandler Hall out on Palm Beach Boulevard.”
To view a map of ALL Early Voting Locations, click here.
The letter originally called for the addition of two voting locations that could operate as early voting sites, election day polling places, and drop box locations to, "ensure that communities of color, which have been especially hard-hit by Hurricane Ian, have equitable access to vote."
The full voting rights coalition that reached out to Supervisor Doyle includes the Lee County NAACP, the Legal Defense Fund, the NAACP Florida State Conference, Common Cause Florida, All Voting is Local Florida, the League of Women Voters of Florida, and the League of Women Voters of Lee County.
The new drop box will be accessible at the Dunbar-Jupiter Hammon Public Library in Fort Myers from 9 a.m. to 6 pm. Sunday, Nov. 6 and Monday Nov.7.
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