Record early voting turnout in St. Lucie County forces library to rearrange schedule

Morningside Branch Library cancels game day

Thursday afternoon, a line of early voters materialized outside a Morningside Branch Library door. It wasn't the first time this has happened since Monday.  Not even close.


St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker says by 3 p.m. Thursday, 797 people had voted at Morningside. The day before, there were 1,187 in total. She said the voting location has never seen that many early voters since it opened in 2006. 


"Monday, the Supervisor of Election's office called me and said they had just a huge, huge crowd, and could we help them with providing some additional space," said Susan Jacob, St. Lucie County library manager.


She obliged, providing an additional room for voting inside the Port St. Lucie facility. 


"We've never had to do that before," she said with a smile.


To alleviate the wait, Jacob also canceled an International Game Day event on Saturday. The monthly family event usually attracts 50 to 80 people that would take up parking spots ...  spaces voters could use on early voting's last day.


"Staff here said the parking lot was swamped, and the Supervisor's Office said they were stunned at how many people were turning out," said Jacob.


Rich Portante knows about the parking problem all too well. He's been passing out Conservative Friends of St. Lucie County fliers there every day since Monday. He's also doubling as a unofficial parking patrol officer.


"Parking is the busiest problem here. The library is open. The parking lot is only so big," Portante pointed out.


He said he's glad the the voter turnout here has outpaced years past. Walker says the total number of early voters in the county, as of last night, was 21,283. She says the turnout is the biggest St. Lucie County has ever seen. 


"The most important election in my lifetime, if not the history of the country, so it's good," said Portante, "as long as they're educated and making decisions based on the facts, that's a really good thing."


Early voting takes place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at the library. 


Gamers, not to fear. Jacob says game day will resume next month.

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