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Election office services now in South Hillsborough

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A South County satellite of Hillsborough’s Supervisor of Elections office is scheduled to open next week.

By MELODY JAMESON

GIBSONTON — In time for a busy presidential election year just around the corner, a South County satellite of Hillsborough’s Supervisor of Elections office is scheduled to open next week.

While an official opening is set for 10 a.m., Tuesday, October 11, the doors will be open and staff prepared to offer services beginning Monday, October 3, said Travis Abercrombie, Supervisor of Elections spokesman. Office hours will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, he added.

The new South County facility is housed in 1,200 square feet of the Riverview Town Center anchored by Lowe’s Home Improvement Store on Gibsonton Drive, Abercrombie said. The elections office location is east of the hardware retailer, close to U.S. 301.

In announcing opening of the new office, Earl Lennard, Hillsborough’s Supervisor of Elections and a South County native, emphasized the convenience of the facility “to area residents who may not have the ability to travel to our other offices. We’re excited,” he added, “to be able to open this satellite and bring voter services closer to citizens in the southeast part of the county.”

Among the voting services to be provided in the new office will be registration of new voters as well as updating of voters’ address, signature and party affiliation records. In addition, during timeframes designated for voting prior to and in connection with the 2012 elections, voters will be able to obtain and return vote-by-mail ballots through the new office, Abercrombie said.    

The coming year will be an active one from the elections standpoint. Three major elections will be conducted in Hillsborough County during 2012. Although the date is not yet set, it is anticipated that Florida’s presidential primary will be conducted early in the year, probably in the first quarter.

Later in the year, the August primary election will involve candidates in all other races vying to carry their party’s banners into the general election contests. Those ballots usually have been marked only by registered voters in the two major parties – Democrats and Republicans. However, there can be occasions when competing candidates from yet another party also appear on a primary ballot.

The November general election ballot gives all voters the chance to choose among those candidates winning their primary races or from among those of other parties or with no party affiliation, from U.S. president to non-paid community board members. The ballot can vary to a degree from precinct to precinct, usually because of specific special district matters. Voters also have the opportunity in the general election to make choices regarding whatever issues have been added to the ballot by that time.

The strictly non-partisan county Supervisor of Elections office is responsible for a wide range of elections-related functions dealing with voter services, candidates and political parties, voter education and, of course conduct of actual federal, state, county, municipal and special district elections in Hillsborough in accordance with state laws.

Copyright 2011 Melody Jameson

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