Hurricane Zeta forces some Florida voting sites to close early

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - OCTOBER 26: Residents of Baltimore City vote early at Baltimore City Community College on October 26, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland. In addition to the Presidential race, the congressional seat held by the late Rep. Elijah Cumming ((Photo by J. Countess/Getty Images))

Early voting locations in several counties in Florida’s Panhandle will be closing as Hurricane Zeta approaches the region.

While Hurricane Zeta is expected to make landfall south of New Orleans on Wednesday afternoon, Florida’s western Panhandle region is expected to see deteriorating weather conditions throughout day, officials said.

In the Pensacola area — long a Republican stronghold — all 10 early voting locations were closing Wednesday at 3 p.m. and won’t reopen until 11 a.m. on Thursday, Escambia County Supervisor of Elections David H. Stafford said on the agency’s website. 

RELATED: Zeta expected to slam the Gulf Coast as a Category 2 hurricane

The voting locations should return to the normal 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. routine on Friday and Saturday, which is the last day for early voting in Florida.

Similar hours have been posted for early voting locations in Santa Rosa County.


In neighboring Okaloosa County, Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux said all early voting locations will close at 5 p.m. Wednesday “out of an abundance of caution,” as the storm approaches. Those voting locations are scheduled to reopen at 9 a.m. Thursday.

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As of September, 44% of voters in Escambia registered as Republicans, 33% as Democrats and 20% had no party affiliation.