MILTON — Tappie Villane sits in her office reviewing the number of residents that have decided to vote early. Villane is the supervisor of elections for Santa Rosa County and she said the number of early voters is high.
"In 2014 the total number of early voters for the mid term elections was 11,982," Villane said. "Today the early voters are at 19,411." Absentee ballots in 2014 peaked at 10,785; currently the running total is slightly higher at 11,898 according to Villane's office.
Early voting ends on Nov. 3; the polls are open 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. General election day is Nov. 6, from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Villane wants to remind all voters to have the proper identification. The law requires a photo and signature ID. A voters’ information card cannot be used as identification.
Villane said voters should visit the supervisor of elections website at www.votesantarosa.com. The website's goal is to provide voters with statistics and links to related election sites, answer questions, provide registration forms, request vote-by-mail ballots, provide poll worker applications, and give as much historical information as possible.
The site also has an unofficial voter turnout section that is continually updated. The page breaks down ballot activity using six criteria. For example, visitors can see information by type of ballot cast: early voting, mail-in ballot, election day ballots and provisional ballots. Visitors to the site can also track voting information based on party affiliation.
There are 132,357 active registered voters in the county, according to the supervisor of elections office. To date 33,822 residents have cast their ballots for a 25.55 percent voter turnout.
Villane began working for the Santa Rosa County Elections Office as a poll worker in December 2000. She started full time with the office in 2005 as the poll worker/polling place coordinator. She was elected in August 2012 and was sworn into office in January 2013. Villane is a State Certified Supervisor of Elections and Master Florida Certified Election Professional. She holds a BA in Communications from the University of West Florida.
"The right to vote is one of the most fundamental liberties we enjoy as Americans and it is also one of our greatest civic responsibilities," Villane said. "Make freedom count. Register and vote."