Early voting kicks off in St. Johns County, masks and socially distanced voting booths are the norm

Early voting begins in St. Johns County

St. Johns County, Fla. — Polls closed at 6 p.m. on the first day of early voting in St. Johns County.

You still have until Aug. 15 to vote early. Primary election day is Aug. 18.

It was a socially distanced, mask-wearing event as voters lined up before being allowed inside.

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Only a few people are admitted at a time because there are fewer voting booths indoors to keep with the 6-feet apart rule.

It was 18-year-old Sarah Mae Beasley’s first-time voting.

“I was just very excited to be able to get the opportunity to vote,” said Beasley.

She and her mom Amy said the process was simple and safe.

“They did a really good job keeping social distancing and hand sanitizer, everything, wearing masks that kind of thing,” said Amy Beasley.

There are eight locations where you can vote early in St. Johns County.

Supervisor of Elections Vicky Oakes said masks will be provided for voters who don’t have one and want one.

“No voter will be turned away because they are not wearing a mask, our workers are wearing masks or face shields,” said Oakes.

Oakes said this election has been the most challenging for her office.

“I’ve been in the elections office for 32 years, this is the most difficult election that we’ve ever had to prepare for because things change daily,” said Oakes.

The county also broke a record for the most vote by mail ballots it’s every sent out. By Friday, 50,000 vote by mail ballots will have been shipped. So far, 15,000 ballots have been mailed back.

“Get your ballot back to the elections office no later than 7 p.m. election day in order to be counted,” said Oakes.

Voter Amy Beasley is hoping more people come out and exercise their rights.

“My hope is that people will turn out and vote. Number one be educated, I’m a high school history teacher so I’m very passionate about this,” said Amy Beasley.