By Jane Smith
Voters once again will have an early voting location in east Delray Beach for the Aug. 18 county and state elections.
The early voting site, at the Delray Beach Community Center, will be open Aug. 3 through Aug. 16 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. The center’s address is: 50 Northwest First Ave.
This site also will be used prior to the November general election, including the presidential race.
“Residents had asked why was it not possible to vote early in Delray Beach,” Mayor Shelly Petrolia said July 23.
Any Palm Beach County registered voter can cast a ballot in Delray Beach as long as they have an acceptable photo ID, such as a driver license or passport. Voters without a license or other photo ID will be given a provisional ballot.
Other South County early voting locations include: Florida Atlantic University and Spanish River Library in Boca Raton, the West Boca Branch Library, the South County Civic Center and Hagan Ranch Road Branch Library west of Delray Beach, and the Ezell Hester Community Center in Boynton Beach.
The last time Delray Beach had an early voting site was in 2012 before the November general election. The location then was at the city library.
For the 2020 elections, the library was discussed because of its ample parking. But it was deemed unacceptable because the inside room is not large enough to allow for the 6-foot social distancing required during the coronavirus pandemic.
Delray Beach city commissioners decided in July to allow early voting in municipal elections as well. Commissioners voted twice to change a January 2005.rule that opted out of early voting.
At the time, city leaders told the Sun-Sentinel newspaper that the benefits of early voting did not offset the estimated $10,000 cost for a municipal election.
Other elected officials who were quoted in the Feb. 10, 2005, newspaper article said the early voting costs are worthwhile. Offering early voting might encourage someone to vote by making it more convenient, they said.