CRESTVIEW — Wal-Mart patrons added voter registration cards to their shopping lists on Tuesday as poll workers staffed tables at the store for National Voter Registration Day.
Of 66 forms completed countywide during the daylong event, 31 people at the Crestview site registered to vote, updated their addresses or changed their party affiliation.
The Crestview team had signed up 11 new voters by mid-afternoon, Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections voter education and PR coordinator Bridget Richard said.
Baker resident Ron Patton visited a table staffed by Pat Presley and Sally Yozviak to change his party affiliation from Republican to independent.
Updating his voter card wasn't Patton's primary reason for visiting the store, he said, but he couldn't pass up the convenience.
"I saw the pretty ladies and stopped by," he said. "It saved me from having to go downtown" to the Supervisor of Elections office.
Voter and worker convenience
Ed Kitchen — who, with Fletcher Williams, helped Julia and Michael Gaskin change their address at the store’s south entrance — said the service benefited voters and poll workers.
"It's nice we can do this now instead of waiting for the election to come along" when there's typically a rush of last-minute update requests, he said.
While other organizations hold periodic voter registration drives, voters often prefer to register with the official county elections office, Richard said.
"We're neutral," she said. "When we're out there, we're not trying to influence voters to register one way or another."
More than 30 poll workersvolunteered to work the four sites at Wal-Marts in Crestview, Fort Walton Beach, Destin and Niceville, Richard said.
"It was the first year we did this. We enjoyed it and the rain held out," Richard said. "We think next year it'll be even bigger because it'll be between the primary and the general elections."
Richard said voters can stop by the Supervisor of Elections office in the Brackin Building in downtown Crestview to register or change their voter information.
"We work more than just twice a year," she said.
WANT TO REGISTER TO VOTE?
WHAT: Voter registration or information update
WHEN: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
WHERE: Supervisor of Elections Office, Brackin Building, 302 Wilson St.
DETAILS: 689-5600 or www.govote-okaloosa.com
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.