Bronson early voting rejected again

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By Mark Scohier, Staff writer

Bronson Town Hall suffered a bit of Déjà vu Monday night as a second decision on early voting mirrored that of the first 3-2 vote against the idea made about a month ago.
“No matter the cost, if one person gets to vote, it’s worth it,” said Vice Mayor Berlon Weeks, hoping to sway Mayor Franklin Schuler and council members Aaron Edmondson and Beatrice Roberts from their positions on the issue.
Weeks, since the first vote against the matter, has launched a Facebook campaign and even did a radio interview in hopes of drumming up community support for early voting he believes could increase voter turnout in the September town elections. The seats for council members Edmondson, Roberts and Jason Kennedy are up for grabs.
“It’s a dead issue,” Schuler said, alluding to the council’s initial vote on the matter. “Nobody has ever complained that ‘We can’t vote,’” he said later.
Roberts, as stated in the past, advocated for absentee ballot voting for people unable to attend the elections Sept. 10.
“I, personally, do not care for absentee (voting) …” said one woman from the audience. “I can see the issue for a lot of people.”
Absentee votes are sometimes contested if signatures on the outside of the mail-in envelopes don’t match those on the ballots inside.
Bronson resident Edith Brown said she thought early voting would be a waste of money and that it wasn’t needed in places such as Bronson with a relatively small population (Bronson has about 600 registered voters).
Schuler agreed, saying early voter turnout is only high during presidential elections.
Levy County Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones, in attendance in case council members had any questions on the matter, told those in attendance that 196 of the 600 registered to vote in Bronson used early voting in the last general election, with 94 also voting early in the primary election.
Roberts said she was one of those early voters.
Kennedy, who voted in favor of the matter both times, said early voting was important for people with “variable” schedules who might not be able to make it to Town Hall on election day.
A woman from the audience said she wouldn’t have been able to vote in the last election had it not been for early voting because she was giving birth on election day, and, she added, early voting is also important for people like her husband, who works long hours in another city.
Edmondson, again, as he did in the first meeting, asked why the matter was being brought up now, though, just minutes prior, Weeks said that the issue has come up before, though it hasn’t been something placed on the agenda.
Another woman from the audience asked what it would take to have a “test run” for early voting. Schuler said that, after this upcoming election, the matter would again be brought up for consideration.
Another woman asked, “So, you’re not going to do it for this election? Why not this election?”
Schuler didn’t elaborate, but told the woman she’s only one vote.
“Why are you so set against it?” the woman asked.
“Why are you so for it?” Schuler responded.
“We’ll remember that the next time we have to vote … “ she told Schuler. “It’s coming.”