…from Politico ….
Three counties in Florida’s conservative Panhandle are limiting early voting hours ahead of Hurricane Zeta, which is expected to hit the region Wednesday.
The shortened voting hours in the Republican strongholds come less than a week before Election Day, as millions of votes are being cast in the swing state. Republicans have used in-person early voting to chip into Democrats‘ vote-by-mail lead.
Escambia, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties are easy wins for President Donald Trump. Escambia County, the site of a Trump rally just last week, supported the president with 60 percent of the vote in 2016. Trump won 74 percent of the vote in Santa Rosa County and 71 percent in Okaloosa County.
Walton County, another GOP stronghold, has not yet cut early voting hours, but is monitoring the situation, said state Rep. Brad Drake, a Republican who represents the county.
In Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, early voting sites will close at 3 p.m. Wednesday and reopen at 11 a.m. Thursday at the earliest, depending on the storm’s damage. Normal early voting hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., meaning there will be eight fewer hours of early voting in the counties.
Early voting in Okaloosa county will close two hours early Wednesday and open two hours later than normal Thursday, county Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux said.
“It’s an abundance of caution for us,” Lux said in an interview. “Hurricane Sally just in September weakened a bunch of trees and power lines, so we need to be careful, but I do think we will get back up and running quickly.”….