The first election following the presidential primary for Palm Beach County took place during COVID-19 without any problems for the City of Belle Glade. Wendy Sartory Link, Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections, oversaw the June 2nd elections to ensure all voters and poll workers were able to cast a ballot safely.
The elections resulted in Michael Martin, Belle Glade City Commissioner, Seat A incumbent, winning his reelection bid in a close race. Martin’s opponent, Robert Mitchell, received only 21 fewer votes than Martin.
During the election, 12.56 percent of Belle Glade’s eligible voters cast ballots, 61 percent of whom voted in person on Election Day.
Supervisor of Elections Link said city officials told her last year that “they were concerned with all of the media focused on the presidential election, the messages for their races would be lost.” In an attempt to focus on local elections, officials decided to have separate voting dates from the the presidential preference primary.
While the decision for the special election was made before city officials learned it occur during a pandemic, the Elections Office has remained dedicated to serving the public, while taking proactive steps to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
The ability of every voter to exercise their right to vote safely is Supervisor Link’s top priority. On the Palm Beach County Elections Office Twitter account, Link provided voters with options on how they could cast their ballot. She encouraged voters to stay home and stay safe by voting by mail and provided information on Early Voting and precinct locations for those that were going in person. Link increased voter accessibility during the 2020 elections and is now offering pre-paid postage on all Vote-by-Mail ballots, a first in Palm Beach County elections history.
The June 2nd election proceeded with new safety procedures put in place by Supervisor Wendy Link and the Elections Office. These procedures include personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitizer, and social distancing guidelines for voting stations and voting lines. These safety features have been expanded and are being used throughout Palm Beach County during Early Voting and on Election Day for the Fall elections.
With the hard work from the Election’s Office and Link, the Belle Glade elections went on with no issue. The new voting equipment, recently purchased under Link’s leadership, worked to improve the voter experience and speed up the tabulation process with data encryption to protect voter information. The smooth process allowed voters to vote safely and stay healthy while at the polls.
To learn more about the Palm Beach County Elections Office, visit www.pbcelections.org.