In Florida Panhandle, Hurricane Michael Casts Shadow Over Voting | 11/6/2018 | Staff
PANAMA CITY (Reuters) – Catina Hill, a registered Republican who says she votes in every election, kept her streak alive on Tuesday despite the devastation that Hurricane Michael wrought in Florida’s Panhandle last month and the chaos it still brings to her life.

“I came this close to not voting today,” Hill, a 43-year-old landlady said as she left a polling site at the Parker United Methodist Church in her hometown of Parker. “Everything is piling up.”

Hill - Republican - Rick - Scott - US

Hill, who said she voted for Republican Rick Scott for U.S. Senate, but admitted she was unsure who she picked for governor, said the past month has been consumed with getting food, water and electricity.

“The power’s constantly flickering and my kids are scared. I’m sleep deprived,” said Hill, lamenting that she could not properly research the candidates and issues before arriving to the polls.

Voters - Panhandle - Region - Republican - Party

Voters in the Panhandle, a conservative-leaning region, have been seen as vital to the Republican Party’s election day fortunes in Florida, where Scott, the current governor, is attempting to unseat incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, and Tallahasee Mayor Andrew Gillum is running against Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis.

Hill was one of thousands of voters in hard-hit Bay County who were forced to travel to one of several “mega-voting sites”. They were set up after one of the worst storms in history to hit North America badly damaged the usual polling locations.

Sherri - Hawkins - Republican - Miles - Fountain

Sherri Hawkins, 49, a registered Republican drove 25 miles from tiny Fountain to vote in one of the big polling stations outside Panama City, which saw a steady stream of voters, but no lines.

Many of her neighbors won’t make it to the polls, she said.

Lot - Vehicles - Gas - Money - Means

“A lot of them don’t have vehicles or gas money or the means to get here. It’s going to have a severe impact.”

State and local Republican leaders have gone...
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