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Shutdowns Fueling a Bicycle Boom

May 22nd, 2020 by Jake Stofan

While many businesses have been starved for customers and struggling to navigate the stay at home order, there’s one industry that has been thriving.

Bike shops are seeing unprecedented sales across the state.

The Great Bicycle Shop in the state’s capital has never seen the level of business it has in the past two months.

“It’s absolutely the busiest I’ve ever seen at any bike shop,” said employee Douglas Parke.

With businesses, recreation and fitness centers closed or operating at a limited capacity, Floridians are taking to the trails.

“Being able to get out in the fresh air is certainly healthier than being cooped up,” said Parke.

The bike boom is statewide.

Ray Kennedy is with David’s World Cycle, which operates 18 stores across the state.

“There really are more new customers and new faces discovering biking or bringing bikes out of the garage that haven’t been serviced or ridden in 10-15 years,” said Kennedy.

He told us the newest trend is the switch to online shopping.

“Last we checked I think we’ve sold six o seven times as many bikes on our website this year compared to the same time last year,” said Kennedy.

And Floridians aren’t just buying bikes, they’re putting them to good use.

One bike trail near Tampa saw 100,000 additional riders in April compared to the previous year.

It’s about an 70 percent increase.

And if biking isn’t your thing, it’s never been better to trade in or resell.

“We really can’t keep trade in bikes in stock more than a day or two. They’re usually purchased off the floor, which is awesome,” said Kennedy.

Shelves are still stocked at the stores we spoke with, but due to the high demand and supply chain slow downs it can be more complicated than usual to get certain parts and models.

Looking forward its not clear if the bike boom will hold.

With the state beginning to reopen, Floridians will have more options for exercise and recreation.

Posted in State News | No Comments »

NRA Puts Tax Collector on Notice

May 22nd, 2020 by Mike Vasilinda

The National Rifle Association has sent a letter to Leon County Tax Collector Doris Maloy after she announced in-car drivers tests and new concealed weapons permits would not be processed when the office reopens June 1st.

The letter puts the Tax Collector on notice that the NRA believes she is violating state law and the Governor’s executive order.

“The Tax Collector is violating the law and constitutional rights by refusing to process original concealed carry or firearms license when she reopens on June the first. She is singling out, picking and choosing what she has no authority to do what she will process,” said Marion Hammer with the NRA.

The letter is meant to be a warning for other tax collectors as they begin to open.

State law provides penalties for local public officials who do no adhere to the states preemption of firearm laws.

In the letter, the NRA asks Malloy to reverse her decision before she reopens on June 1st.

Posted in State News | No Comments »

Group Looks to Create Recommendations for Returning to the Classroom

May 21st, 2020 by Jake Stofan

After repeatedly calling on the state to convene a task force to look at reopening schools, The Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, has convened its own.

The 25 member task force will convene three times in the coming weeks.

Its first meeting was held Thursday.

The group’s goal is to include the voices of teachers, staff members and school administrators in the reopening conversation.

“They are going to be the ones dealing with the day to day, minute to minute issues in a school brick and mortar building,” said FEA secretary-treasurer Carole Gauronskas.

The task force will focus on a wide variety of reopening topics including physical and mental health, student success, working conditions and financial investment in schools.

“We know that there’s going to be a financial hit when in all honesty we’re going to need more money to separate these classes to make them smaller. We’re going to need more intervention, mental health psychologists. We’re going to have to have more people driving more buses or supporting students in a way we’ve never seen,” said Gauronskas.

So far, educators say they’ve gotten little to no direction on what reopening will look like from the state.

“Are we on a rotation where you can only have 50 percent of students in a classroom at one time for social distancing? Or half of classes in school and half of classes at home and you rotate them every other day or every other week?” said Leon County School Superintendent Rocky Hanna. “We can move the needle and move things down the road a lot further once we get guidance from the Governor.”

A second task force will also be looking into how to reopen universities and colleges.

Recommendations are expected to be finalized within 10 to 15 days, but there will likely be multiple variations of plans depending on how the pandemic progresses.

While the state has not convened its own task force for reopening schools, Department of Education Communications Director Taryn Fenske contested claims from FEA that it has been left out of reopening conversations.

“The Department of Education has been in constant communication with educators, superintendents, parents and education stakeholders throughout the entirety of the COVID-19 crisis. That is evidenced through the over 50 daily webinars with thousands of educators, dozens of memos, guidance, and conversations we’ve had, including those with the Florida Education Association. The Commissioner personally has a regular dialogue with the FEA’s President and our K-12 Division has regular dialogue with the FEA’s leadership,” said Fenske in an emailed statement.

The Governor’s Office and Department of Education told us they both will consider the recommendations FEA’s task forces produce.

You can also provide input to the groups.

During their meetings you can submit comments on Facebook or through email.

You can find a full schedule of the task force’s upcoming meetings below.

Committee on Reopening Our Neighborhood Schools

  • 10-11 a.m. EDT Tuesday, May 26 — breakout groups, discussions concentrated on defined areas
  • 10-11 a.m. EDT Friday, May 29 — full group, wrapping up
    Register here.

Committee on Reopening Florida’s Campuses

  • 1-2 p.m. EDT Tuesday, May 26 — breakout groups, discussions concentrated on defined areas
  • 1-2 p.m. EDT Friday, May 29 — full group, wrapping up
    Register here.

Posted in State News | No Comments »

Lawsuit Seeks Mail Ballots for Every Voter

May 21st, 2020 by Mike Vasilinda

Uncertainty over the health risks of voting in August and November have three citizens suing to make sure every registered voter gets a mail in ballot and state pays the return postage.

Many elections supervisors are already reaching out to voters and asking if they want a mail in ballot.

The lawsuit was filed by a retired sheriff’s deputy and two others who work helping senior citizens.

It asserts requiring voters to request a mail ballot rather than just sending one, and requiring them to pay the postage is asking too much.

“Many people don’t have computers,” said attorney Harvey Sepler, who is representing the three plaintiffs. “They don’t want to leave their homes because of the virus because they don’t want to expose themselves. That means they don’t want to leave to request a mail in ballot.”

The suit has been assigned to a judge, but no hearing has been set.

The lawsuit comes as a poll by a group calling itself Secure Democracy found overwhelming national support for everyone getting a mail ballot.

However, the same poll found 93 percent want polling places to be open as well.

“And in person voting is going to look different,” said Hillsborough County Elections Supervisor Craig Latimer, who also serves as President of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections.

Supervisors have already asked the Governor for the authority to consolidate polling places.

“We’re not going to be letting 30, 40 people into polling site at the same time,” said Latimer.

Most voters are already getting cards asking if they want a mail ballot.

In 2018, a third of the ballots were cast by mail, but in this past Presidential Preference Primary that jumped to over 50 percent in some counties.

And so far, the state hasn’t responded to two requests from supervisors.

They want more days of early voting and longer times to mail and process ballots.

“And I’m going to go back and check and make sure I had the right address because we haven’t heard anything,” said Latimer.

And remember, you can request a mail ballot, and as long as you don’t return it, you can still vote in person on election day or early voting.

You can also return the ballot in person until the polls close.

Posted in State News | No Comments »

Don’t Let Nursing Homes Take Your Loved One’s Stimulus

May 20th, 2020 by Jake Stofan

Scattered reports of Florida nursing homes cashing residents stimulus checks has Florida’s Attorney General warning it’s possible their facility pocketed the money, but there are ways you can fight back.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said her office is investigating complaints of nursing homes pocketing stimulus checks meant for residents in their care.

“These are the folks that cannot protect themselves,” said Moody.

She wants you to know it’s illegal.

“That was not what was intended by the CARES Act and it’s unacceptable, won’t be tolerated and we’re making sure we get that word out,” said Moody.

The Attorney General told us she couldn’t disclose the names or how many homes are under investigation.

She also declined to specify the penalties those homes could face if they’re found to be stealing checks.

Kristen Knapp with the Florida Health Care Association, which represents over 80 percent of the state’s nursing homes, told us there was some initial confusion about how nursing homes should handle the stimulus checks.

“We do care for Medicaid residents,” said Knapp.

Facilities wanted to ensure the money wouldn’t disqualify their residents from receiving Medicaid, but the issue has since been cleared up.

“These federal dollars are treated almost like a tax refund so they don’t count against their Medicaid eligibility,” said Knapp.

It important to check with your loved one’s care facility before filing a complaint.

While a resident may not see a physical check, it could have been deposited in their resident trust fund.

“You know it’s similar to like the personal needs allowance where that money is there to use for whether it’s buying a gift for a loved one or however they see fit,” said Knapp.

And Moody is asking Floridians to reach out to her office if you do suspect foul play.

“Call our office 1-866-9-NO-SCAM,” said Moody.

Nursing Homes will be holding a meeting Thursday to provide their members with additional guidance from on how to handle the checks.

Posted in State News | No Comments »

Many Unemployed Still Waiting

May 20th, 2020 by Mike Vasilinda

Florida has paid out more money in unemployment claims over the last five weeks than all of the last four years combined, but tens of thousands of people applying for unemployment remain in limbo as of Wednesday.

“All of our phone lines are busy and we are unable to offer a callback option”.

It is a familiar sound to the unemployed.

Brooke Stanton said she has heard the message hundreds if not thousands of times.

Her call log shows six calls Monday.

“To this date, I still haven’t spoken to a human being. I haven’t gotten through at all,” said Stanton.

The man in charge, DMS Secretary Jonathan Satter said he has 6,000 people answering the phone.

“We tell people don’t call a hundred and eight times,” said Satter.

And he still can’t keep up.

“Yesterday we had a million phone calls. We’ve had 15 million phone calls since March 15th. We haven’t gotten to most of those. Most of those people are hanging up. Its as upsetting to me as it is to the callers,” said Satter.

The Secretary did tell us that if you are calling about your claim, you should be prepared to wait longer than an hour.

On Monday, calls to check on claims were averaging an hour and thirty-nine minutes.

He did say the best time to call was late in the afternoon.

As of Tuesday night, just under 200,000 claims were parked in what’s called a verification cue.

Brooks might be one of them because she has filed a duplicate claim after federal benefits became available.

“Because I am in a unique situation, I haven’t made a livable wage in two months because of this. And so, its just very frustrating,” said Stanton.

And while Governor Ron DeSantis said great strides have been made fixing a broken system he inherited, he also noted there are still improvements that need to be made.

“Still to this day, glitches are being fixed,” said DeSantis.

But it is of little consolation to the thousands like Brooke still waiting.

Posted in State News | No Comments »

Fired COVID-19 Dashboard Manager Raises Red Flags About Accuracy of State Data

May 19th, 2020 by Jake Stofan

Florida’s nationally celebrated COVID-19 dashboard suggests reopening is going as good as one can hope.

Infection rates remain well below target levels and emergency visits for flu and COVID like illnesses are on the decline, but the firing of the architect and manager of the dashboard is raising questions about the reliability of the state data.

An email sent by the architect and former manager of Florida’s COVID-19 Dashboard to researchers and her former team makes a disturbing claim.

Rebekah Jones alleges to have been fired for being too transparent.

“As a word of caution, I would not expect the new team to continue the same level of accessibility and transparency that I made central to the process during the first two months. After all, my commitment to both is largely (arguably entirely) the reason I am no longer managing it,” said Jones in the email.

For Pam Marsh, President of the First Amendment Foundation, the accusation is disheartening.

“How do we make decisions based on information that’s A: inaccurate and now we have this reason distrust it?” said Marsh.

Marsh also pointed out the timing of Jones’ firing as suspect.

In the email Jones claims to have been let go on May 5th, just one day after the first phase of the Governor’s reopening plan went into effect.

“When the administration needs the data to show that the curve in not just flattening, but going down,” said Marsh. “More information on this is important to gather, but I think what right now is really suspicious.”

We reached out to Jones via two email accounts, her cell and office phone numbers.

We also contacted her on Facebook, but only received an automated message saying she was not doing interviews.

The Governor’s Office released information Tuesday afternoon disputing Jones’ claim.

“Rebekah Jones exhibited a repeated course of insubordination during her time with the Department, including her unilateral decisions to modify the Department’s COVID-19 dashboard without input or approval from the epidemiological team or her supervisors. The blatant disrespect for the professionals who were working around the clock to provide the important information for the COVID-19 website was harmful to the team,” said DeSantis’ Communications Director Helen Ferre in an emailed statement.

We asked the Governor about the email directly.

DeSantis read from an email his staff provided him sent to his administration by the Department of Health.

In it Jones explains the email in question as a mistake.

“What I meant when I said don’t expect the same level of accessibility is that they are busy and can’t answer every single email they get right away, and it was ridiculous that I managed to do it in the first place,” said Jones.

DeSantis went on to tout the level of transparency the dashboard provides.

“Our dashboard has been recognized nationally. Doctor Birx has praised it multiple times,” said DeSantis.

Despite the email provided by the Governor’s Office, CBS-12 in West Palm Beach reported to have received an email directly from Jones where she stated she was fired because she was ordered to censor data, and refused to “manually change data to drum up support for the plan to reopen”.

Florida’s dashboard currently reflects just shy of 47,000 cases, 8,400 hospitalizations and more than 2,000 deaths.

The latest data shows only 4.27 percent of tests are returning COVID-19 positive.

We’ll continue trying to get a more detailed account from Jones.

 

Posted in State News | No Comments »

Some Fall Classes to Remain Virtual

May 19th, 2020 by Mike Vasilinda

Florida’s 12 Universities are in the planning stage for returning to at least some on campus or face to face learning this fall, but space challenges and health concerns will make the 2020 college year unlike any before.

Sarah Kissane’s freshman year at Florida State was cut short by the coronavirus.

“I’m very excited to go back. Because these are pretty formative years for me. So I’m very excited to go back and experience things we may have missed,” said Kissane.

All 12 Presidents have been working on reopening campuses for weeks.

“We’re on at least phone calls twice, three times a week, to talk about best practices,” said FSU President John Thrasher.

Thrasher told us every decision creates five more questions.

“I’ve heard from a lot of our faculty members who have some underlying health issues who are in that critical age group. We don’t want to put anybody in harms way,” said Thrasher.

At FSU, the plan is to shift as many face to face classes to distance learning as possible.

A memo from administrators to deans and faculty warned on campus space is so limited, FSU can only accommodate one in four students with proper social distancing.

“Is to plan for both. Virtual, semi virtual if that’s going to be a thing, and in person,” said FSU student body president Jonathan Joseph Levine.

And despite her enthusiasm, space is a concern for Sarah.

“It is kind of wary, like thinking about going back and being in a big classroom situation. Because some of the classes I was in last semester were two, three hundred people,” said Kissane.

But more than anything, the soon-to-be sophomore wants clear direction.

“And be able to directly and affirmatively say this is what we are doing,” said Kissane.

Each university has until June 23 to submit its plans for returning to classrooms.

A final decision on how campuses will reopen is expected by mid-July.

Posted in State News | No Comments »

Pawn Shops Make Fewer Loans, Cashing More Checks

May 18th, 2020 by Mike Vasilinda

During every economic downturn over the last 50 years and perhaps longer, many people turn to pawn shops for a quick loan to tide them over.

Pawn brokers expected the same when the pandemic hit, but they got a big surprise.

Pawn Shops are bustling these days, but not because people need money.

It’s just the opposite.

“We fully expected with everything that is happening that we would have a huge demand for loans. We’re actually having people pick up loans rather than make new ones,” said Mark Folmar, owner of Folmers Pawn Shop in the state capital.

Loans are down between a third and 50 percent.

“More people are eating at home. Doing everything at home, and I think some of our expenses are less. Gas is less. They’re not having to go to work. A lot of people are not having to pay daycare, so you just have a strange combination of things that has actually left certain segments of the population with more money than they normally have,” said Folmar.

Folmar’s has cut hours and trimmed staff as loans have fallen.

The cuts would have been deeper, but the check cashing business is booming.

“We’re seeing the stimulus checks and then we are seeing a lot of the $600 unemployment checks and the state unemployment checks,” said Folmar.

With extra money in their hands, the people usually pawning during a crisis are buying.

“Any type of video game. TV’s. Stuff people can do from home to entertain their kids,” said Folmar.

Call it Christmas in May.

But there is still a need.

David, using his first name only, told us his disability check was two weeks late.

“For food. I got no food,” said David.

If the pandemic has put you in a pinch remember pawning something is not a long term solution.

It’s not cheap.

Small loans can cost 20 to 25 percent a month.

A second round of stimulus payments is likely to keep the trend going into the summer, depending on how large the payments turn out to be.

Posted in State News | No Comments »

Calls Growing for Pandemic Election Changes

May 18th, 2020 by Jake Stofan

$20.2 million in federal funding will be coming to the state to help conduct the August 18th primary and November General Election amid the pandemic, but Florida Democrats and election supervisors are asking for more.

Florida Democrats are calling for a special session to address issues they anticipate the coronavirus will cause in this year’s elections.

“Ensuring safe access to this sacred right is a duty that we have as elected officials,” said State Senator Gary Farmer.

Their main goal is to send every Floridian a mail ballot and have the state pay return postage.

“The problem is, is that our traditional system is not designed for social distancing,” said State Senator Perry Thurston.

The federal assistance could help absorb some of those costs, but election supervisors insist Democrats’ demands are unrealistic.

“We do not have the volume capacity,” said Mark Earley, Leon County Supervisor of Elections and Secretary of the state association.

Election officials are anticipating poll worker shortages, a lack of polling places and a surge of vote by mail ballots in August and November.

They’re asking the Governor to extend the window to send out mail ballots and expand early voting through Election Day

“To help us ensure that we’ve got a sufficient number of polling places and a sufficient number of poll workers,” said Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections President Craig Latimer.

Election supervisors first made the request back in April, but they still have not gotten an answer from the Governor.

We’ve also reached out the Governor multiple times with no response.

“We need to know these things way in advance. Months in advance. We typically start planning for an election a year ahead of time,” said Earley.

If you plan to vote by mail request and return a ballot as soon as possible.

You also don’t have to return it through the mail.

You can also drop it at your local supervisor of elections office in person to avoid paying postage.

Elections officials also want to remind Floridians that requesting a mail ballot doesn’t mean that’s the way you have to vote.

You can still vote in person if you forget to return you mail ballot in time.

Posted in State News | No Comments »

Democrats Deliver Names of Unpaid Unemployed to Governor

May 18th, 2020 by Mike Vasilinda

Governor Ron DeSantis continued to push back Monday when reporters asked him about unemployed Floridians who are still waiting for checks going back as far as May.

The Governor contends the vast majority of claims have been paid, and those that haven’t likely involve errors on the application.

Florida Senate Democrats delivered the names and contact info for more than a thousand of their constituents whom they claim have valid claims and have not yet received benefits Monday afternoon.

In a statement, Senate Democratic Leader Audrey Gibson of Jacksonville echoed what her fellow Democrats said on Friday: Pay the claims now.

Posted in State News | No Comments »

Last County to Report COVID-19 Cases Now Seeing Late Surge

May 15th, 2020 by Jake Stofan

The last county to report a COVID-19 infection is now finding itself the epicenter of a late surge in cases.

Liberty County residents are remaining optimistic because almost all of the cases are isolated in the nearby state prison.

Liberty County’s largest city Bristol is home to about 1,000.

Johnny Eubanks runs the county chamber of commerce.

“We feel blessed that we were the last one,” said Eubanks.

But over the past two weeks cases have quickly grown to nearly 200.

“Any time you have this type of infection you’re going to be concerned,” said Eubanks.

The nearby state prison accounts for nearly all the cases.

“Any time you have people living in close quarters like that it’s easy to spread,” said Eubanks.

The prison is a large employer of local residents.

So far eight staffers have tested positive.

Most residents we spoke with asked not to appear on camera.

Some said they were concerned the virus could leave the prison walls and enter the community.

But aside from a sign encouraging social distancing and hand washing put up by the sheriff, it appears to be business as usual in the town.

Bristol resident Lauren Shuler told us she’s confident in the prison system.

“I think that we’ll be okay. I think they’re doing their best to keep us safe and they’re taking all precautions that they can at this time,” said Shuler.

A bit of good news for Liberty County, only three new cases have been reported in the past week.

Also FDC reports more than 1,700 negative test results at the prison.

Meanwhile, neighboring Calhoun County has just reported its first COVID death.

Eubanks noted Liberty county has a big advantage over other parts of the state.

People here live in a state of natural social distancing.

“The county has a population of about 9,000. So we can spread out very easily and often do,” said Eubanks.

The scope of the problem in Liberty County wasn’t uncovered until testing ramped up.

As testing across the state increases we’ll get a better idea of how far the virus has spread in our own communities as well.

Posted in State News | No Comments »

DEO Continues to Lose Ground

May 15th, 2020 by Mike Vasilinda

There are new calls for the state to quickly pay unemployment claims now and worry about the eligibility of the claim later.

Statistics released Friday show the Department of Economic Opportunity continues to see more claims than it is paying.

Just over 175,000 Floridians filed for unemployment between Sunday and Thursday, but the agency continues to lose ground.

It processed just 153,000 claims during the five days.

“Pay the damn claims. Pay them. If you worried about fraud, go back and look at that after its over with, after you compensate these people,” said State Senator Perry Thurston.

Four state Senators, all Democrats, renewed the call for a special session Friday, but added the Governor could do more now.

“It can be fixed with a stroke of a pen by the Governor via executive order,” said Senator Gary Farmer.

The lawmakers want weekly benefits raised from $275 to at least $400 and they want to double the number of available weeks.

Senator Jason Pizzo has been physically walking constituents’ names over to the agency.

Claims he said he knows are valid.

He told us the case workers processing the claims feel helpless.

“I had a call center person reach out to me saying how ridiculous it is. I have a blind man on the phone, who is obviously not looking at a computer, and I can do everything for him and I can’t submit his application. I mean, how ridiculous is that?” Said Pizzo.

Meanwhile a lawsuit against the agency for slow payments is moving forward.

A hearing has been set for the day after Memorial day.

“We have people who will testify that they were instructed that if someone calls and they cant pay the rent, cant pay the mortgage, to tell people to call the emergency number of the United Way,” said attorney Gautier Kitchen.

Senator Farmer called the idea, “Outrageous. It’s unconscionable.”

More than 300,000 claims remain in a verification cue.

The majority are because employers, who have 20 days to verify employment, haven’t done so.

Posted in State News | No Comments »

11,000 Demand More Action from Governor on Unemployment

May 14th, 2020 by Jake Stofan

Florida has paid less than half of the 1.4 million residents who have applied for unemployment and complaints from those trying to navigate the state’s system continue to roll in. 

The Governor was delivered a petition signed by more than 11,000 seeking additional executive action.

Despite applying for unemployment in March and spending countless hours attempting to get her claim through, Elizabeth Shtuka doesn’t know why she hasn’t seen a penny in benefits.

“We called 108 times yesterday to get disconnected,” said Elizabeth’s mother Shelly, who has been trying to help her daughter navigate the system.

It’s the same story for Stephanie Jones who drove an hour and a half from Franklin County to the Department of Economic Opportunity headquarters in the state capital seeking answers.

“No one was available to come and speak with me about it,” said Jones, who was turned away at the door and not allowed in the building.

For Jones and others waiting for checks, things are getting desperate.

“The not knowing is killing you cause you don’t know how to budget or prepare. I’ve exhausted all of my saving,” said Jones.

More than 11,000 frustrated Floridians signed a petition demanding the Governor increase maximum weekly payouts and extend eligibility from 12 to 26 weeks.

They also want him to waive barriers for eligibility so more can qualify.

“We now have $4 billion sitting in that fund, the problem is it can’t get out the door,” said Dr. Rich Templin with the Florida AFL-CIO.

A handful of Democratic state lawmakers have spent last few weeks in the state capital, bringing their constituents’ stories directly to DEO, in hopes of getting them paid.

Senator Randolph Bracy is one of those lawmakers.

He told us he recently heard from a constituent that made him realize the situation is a matter of life and death for some.

“They were at a breaking point and they considered taking their life,” said Bracy.

Legislative leaders oppose a special session on unemployment so it’s up to the Governor to make short term fixes.

But like those we spoke with for this story, our inquiry to the Governor asking if he’s considering additional action went unanswered. 

We’ll keep asking. 

The Governor did take some executive action Thursday to help those struggling financially.

He extended his executive order banning evictions and foreclosures by an additional 45 days. 

It was previously set to expire Saturday.

Posted in State News | No Comments »

Election Officials Desperate for Help Amid Pandemic

May 14th, 2020 by Jake Stofan

Florida’s Election Supervisors say time is running out for the state to prepare for Primaries in August and the November General Election.

The pandemic is expected to create a shortage of poll workers, require changes to polling locations and create a significant influx of mail ballots.

President of the State Association of Supervisors of Elections Craig Latimer said the state has been dismally slow in completing its application for $20 million in federal assistance for elections.

It’s money that can help pay for everything from basic equipment to PPE.

“I’ve got some of my colleagues that have actually driven to other states to get hand sanitizer cause they couldn’t get it here. So there are some definite needs that are out there. That money also though will go for helping to pay for the additional mail ballot envelopes that we need, the additional inserts and also for equipment that can automate that process,” said Latimer.

Supervisors have also called on the Governor to extend windows for early voting and vote by mail, but so far no action has been taken.

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