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Sarasota Monday, Nov. 2, 2020 5 months ago

Sarasota voters head to the polls

Here's what voters felt about the election in Sarasota.
by: Harry Sayer Staff Writer

It's been a hard year for Que Tinley. The 19-year old Sarasota transplant from New Jersey recently suffered a knee injury that's left him recovering with a limp and a knee brace. 

He's felt he, and the country, could use a change. The recent Sarasota transplant made his way to the Knights of Columbus Banquet Hall on Fruitville Road to vote for the very first time.

"I feel like young people are developing in our community right now," Tinley said. "... I feel like people are really putting in effort with voting this year. We need somebody to take charge and turn our year around."

He's not alone. After a long and unprecedented year, countless Sarasota residents were excited Tuesday to get out to the polls and have their voices be heard.  By lunchtime, the county noted that 17,000 more ballots had already been received via early voting, mail-in voting and morning-time Election Day voting than the final tally of 2016's election. Turnout was 73.76% and climbing until polls close at 7 p.m.

It was Que Tinley's first time voting.

Several locals had skipped early voting to wait to vote on Nov. 3, many feeling it was a special day.

"You have to be a part of this," Sarasota resident Tina Catalane said. "With all the safety protocols in place, I knew we would be safe to vote the day of ... everybody is doing a great job."

Lance Anderson votes every Election Day.

Voting on Election Day was important to longtime voter Lance Anderson — it's his belief people should find time to vote on that day only. 

"It's everybody's right, they should vote," Anderson said. "... Do what you're supposed to and vote on the day you're supposed to."

Others had more anxious reasons for filling out their ballot. Pamela Live, who voted at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex, said she was excited to fulfill her duty as an American but was worried mail-in votes could be tampered with. 

"I don't want any funny business with the mail-in voting or ballots getting lost," Live said.

More than anything, 23-year-old Alexis Ramos said she needed to have a voice. She voted for the first time at Robert L. Taylor Community Complex. 

"I (decided) I have to go vote," Ramos said. "I'm feeling excited and kind of nervous, this year so far has been so scary and unpredictable."

Mikel and Myrtis Sharpe both work full-time and weren't able to find a place during early voting, they stopped by the community complex to vote together. Mikel says he's focused on business and hopes the economy will move upwards once the pandemic has ended. 

"I'm looking for economic growth and some kind of harmony, whatever that means," Mikel Sharpe said. 

Holly Downing waved her candidate's flag.

A common sentiment among voters was an anxiety over the election results, and whether or not people will accept them. 

"Nobody likes anybody," Tim Harney said. "That's pretty much what it is ... I just hope everybody settles for what happens and doesn't freak out afterwards."

George Dixon said he wanted to avoid some lines he saw during early voting and stopped by the Columbus Banquet Hall on Election Day while people were at work. He viewed the presidential race as a "lose-lose" situation and voted independent. 

"I hope we get relatively quick results, people accept the loss, and that we accept that we have a lot of important things to do together," Dixon said. 


Harry Sayer is the Black Tie Reporter for the Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida and previously worked the Black Tie beat for the Observer newspaper in Winter Park and Maitland. You can catch him at one of Sarasota's fundraisers and shindigs. 

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