The Beacon will be covering the 2020 general election throughout the day and as the night goes on. Keep refreshing this page throughout the day to see our newest updates. View our earlier story on the election for more information.
9:45 p.m. All precincts now reporting
The Volusia County Department of Elections website now reports that 125 of the county’s 125 voting precincts have reported results.
The night has seen, among other things, an upset in the race for Volusia County chair, where Jeff Brower bested Deb Denys, along with close races for state House and other seats.
To view the full results, click here: https://vcservices2.vcgov.org/Elections/results.htm
This will be our last update of the night, as the team here at The Beacon is signing off. Check our website in the coming days for more news and analysis on the election.
9:32 p.m. Webster Barnaby claims victory in State Representative race
Republican Webster Barnaby has 48,942 votes to his opponent Democrat Dolores Guzman’s 38,018 in the State Representative, District 27 race.
Barnaby said he is looking forward to going to Tallahassee to represent his district.
“I’m very, very happy to serve the people of Volusia County,” he said. “I am very much looking forward to being a public servant and serving all the people of Volusia County.”
Barnaby, born in the United Kingdom, is a naturalized U.S. citizen and has served on the Deltona City Commission.
9:30 p.m. All but one precinct reporting
Two hours after polls closed, all but one precincts in Volusia County had reported their results. The straggler precinct is on the east side of Volusia County.
8:38 p.m. Jennifer Coen and Judy Craig leading in West Volusia Hospital Authority races.
Judy Craig and Jennifer Coen hold big leads in their races for seats on the West Volusia Hospital Authority. The two campaigned together for WVHA Group A, Seat 3, and Group B, Seat 1, respectively.
With 112 of Volusia County’s 125 precincts reporting, Craig holds a 14,000-vote lead over her opponent John Hill, and Coen holds a 25,000-vote lead over her opponent, Michael Ray.
Craig and Coen ran on platforms of expanding care for West Volusia’s most vulnerable people by way of the Hospital Authority’s ad valorem taxes.
Coen said she was looking forward to joining the Hospital Authority Board.
“I just want to thank the voters of West Volusia for entrusting me with this responsibility,” she said. “I look forward to being a good steward of our taxpayers’ money.”
Craig said she was excited to stay on the WVHA Board, and happy to see that she and Coen beat out their opponents, Hill and Ray.
“I said, ‘May all the women win!’” Craig said.
In the past several years, the Hospital Authority’s existence has come under fire from some past board members and candidates. Craig said she believes with Coen and herself on the board, they can fend off any attempts to dissolve the WVHA.
“I would say that we have enough votes to override any kind of attempts to get rid of the Hospital Authority,” Craig said. “I think we have enough votes that will support the programs that are so important to the residents that need that care. I think we have the majority in our hearts and minds to do what’s best for the human beings that we care about.”
Craig and Coen were watching results come in together at the Colt’s Pig Stand restaurant in Orange City with some volunteers from their campaigns and others.
8:35 p.m. Wendy Anderson holds commanding lead in Soil and Water Conservation District Seat 4 race
Wendy Anderson has 134,392 votes to opponent Barbara Deering’s 89,056, representing about 60.1 percent of the vote to 39.9 percent in the race for Seat 4 on the Soil and Water Conservation District.
“I feel excited; ready to get to work,” Anderson said. “Today I had a great conversation with other environmental leaders, and they said they were inspired, and would like to use this win as a reason to get together and work more collaboratively.”
John Nelson also holds a large lead over opponent Wesley Wayne Wilson Jr. with 156,877 votes to 60,418.
8:25 p.m. Volusia ECHO and Volusia Forever have big leads
Two county referendums that would reauthorize the Volusia ECHO and Volusia Forever programs looked to be on track to be approved, with 112 of 125 precincts reporting.
Volusia ECHO, which provides funds to ecological, cultural, historic and outdoor recreational endeavors, was set to be reauthorized for another 20 years by a margin of 73.2 percent to 26.8 percent.
Similarly, Volusia Forever, which acquires environmentally sensitive land, was set to be reapproved by a margin of 76.4 percent to 23.6 percent.
The two programs are funded by a one-fifth of a mill tax on Volusia County property owners.
8:14 p.m. Incumbent R.J. Larizza handily wins State Attorney race
With 330,958 votes to opponent Don Dempsey’s 179,511, unofficial results show State Attorney R.J. Larizza clearly winning the race for re-election. Larizza has 64.83 percent of the vote in the 7th Circuit, which comprises Volusia, Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns counties.
Reached by telephone tonight, Larizza told The Beacon that the race has been invigorating.
“It’s always a little anxious, people tell you don’t worry — but whenever you have an opponent it creates anxiety,” Larizza said. “It helped me — it’s always good to reach out and connect with folks you serve and to interact on a personal level, and really, make sure to hear what you are saying.”
Larizza is celebrating with his family, co-workers, and supporters with some barbecue, he said.
“It’s been a long day but a good day. So often, we don’t stop to pause and be grateful,” Larizza said. “It’s a sweet moment, and I am enjoying it.”
8:10 p.m. McCool declares victory in Deltona
Shortly after 8 p.m., Dana McCool declared victory in the race to represent District 4 on the Deltona City Commission.
With all three of the precincts in the district reporting, along with mail-in and early results, McCool had 58.1 percent to Ruben Munoz’s 41.9 percent.
“I feel incredibly honored by the residents who elected me,” McCool said. “And I feel a huge sense of responsibility to carry on the work that I have started. Now let’s get busy.”
McCool has been serving in the District 4 seat since April, when she was appointed to the City Commission following the abrupt resignation of Robert McFall, which McFall said was for “personal reasons.”
8 p.m. County Chair candidate celebrating
With 112 of 125 precincts in Volusia County reporting, DeLeon Springs resident Jeff Brower led by a margin of 57 percent to 43 percent in the race for Volusia County chair, over County Council Member Deb Denys.
Brower was watching the results from a Bahama Breeze restaurant in Daytona Beach.
Asked how he and his campaign staff were feeling after seeing the returns, Brower held his cellphone up to a group of campaign staffers, who cheered loudly in response to the question.
“They’re all right,” Brower deadpanned.
“I’m feeling very grateful, actually,” he added. “I’m in a room with the people who have worked with me the last 12 months and who have knocked on doors.”
Brower ran a largely grassroots campaign based on opposition to overdevelopment, along with a focus on environmental issues. He said his opponent “couldn’t buy and lie her way in.”
“We just were given a mandate to every voter in Volusia County, but mostly the mandate goes to every elected official in Volusia County, that says we are tired of overdevelopment and the taxes that go with it,” Brower said. “It’s time that we are going to take that mandate and lower property taxes, clean up our water supply, and change smart growth — which is really stupid — to responsible growth. And we’re going to restore trust again in government.”
7:57 p.m. Orange City mayor picking up signs
Shortly before 8 p.m., with results showing him victorious over his challenger for the mayor’s seat in Orange City, Gary Blair was out driving around in his pickup collecting his campaign signs.
With 104 Volusia County precincts reporting — but not the two Orange City precincts — Blair had 65.6 percent to Anthony Pupello’s 34.4 percent. Blair wasn’t declaring victory, but felt good about the results so far, he said.
“I want to thank the people of Orange City,” Blair said. “When you’re doing a good job, the people know it.”
7:42 p.m. Race for city commissioner in Lake Helen
With mail-in, early voting, and one of one precinct reporting, Lake Helen voters have picked their city commissioners.
Roger Eckert has beaten Roxann Goodman in the race for Lake Helen Zone 2 commissioner. Eckert has 928 votes to Goodman’s 690, or 57.4 percent.
In Zone 4, incumbent Jim Connell has won over challenger Betty O’Laughlin, with 924 votes to O’Laughlin’s 674.
7:45 p.m. Deltona candidates speak out
Deltona City Commission candidate Dana McCool had 59 percent of the vote, with early and mail-in ballot results uploaded, to 41 percent for Ruben Munoz, her opponent in the District 4 race.
“I don’t tempt the gods until it is done,” McCool said.
She was watching election returns at home.
In the District 6 race, between Julio David Sosa and Jody Lee Storozuk, Sosa was ahead in early returns, 61.5 percent to 38.5 percent.
Sosa, a martial-arts instructor who had to close his business this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, felt optimistic as returns rolled in.
“I feel good,” Sosa said. “It’s been quite an experience over the past year.”
7:30 p.m. Comments from DeBary candidates
William Sell, running against incumbent Stephen Bacon for Seat 1 on the DeBary City Council, had 55.2 percent of the vote among early and mail-in voters.
Sell said he wasn’t surprised.
“I sent a postcard to everybody in town, before they got their ballots,” said Sell, who was watching the election returns online at home.
He was cautious, until more votes are counted.
“I’m not taking any glory shots just yet,” Sell said.
DeBary has four precincts; as of 7:15 p.m., those results had not been uploaded to the Volusia County Elections Office website.
— Al Everson
7:30 p.m. Precincts coming in quickly
As of 7:30 p.m., the Volusia County Department of Elections website was reporting results for 49 of 125 precincts, including results for early and mail-in voting.
In the closely raced watch for Volusia County chair, Jeff Brower of DeLeon Springs led County Councilwoman Deb Denys with 56.3 percent of the vote to 43.7 percent of the vote, respectively.
The two races for state representatives for District 26 and 27 remained close, while in the two races for West Volusia Hospital Authority, Judy Craig led John Hill 58.3 percent to 41.7 percent, while Jennifer Coen led Michael Ray 64.8 percent to 35.2 percent.
Coen and Craig have generally favored supporting the West Volusia Hospital Authority’s mission, while Ray and Hill have been critical of some of the agency’s actions.
7 p.m. Polls close; early and mail-in votes reported
Polls have officially closed in Volusia County, and early and mail-in votes are now being reported on the Department of Elections website.
More than 141,420 vote-by-mail ballots were returned as of Nov. 2, and some 112,532 people in Volusia County took advantage of in-person early voting.
Again, statewide results won’t be reported until 8 p.m. Eastern time, when polls close in the Florida Panhandle, part of which is in the Central time zone. Official statewide results can be seen at https://floridaelectionwatch.gov.
The early returns reflected several close races, such as the rematch in state House District 26 between former Rep. Patrick Henry, a Democrat, and Republican incumbent Rep. Elizabeth Fetterhoff, who defeated Henry in 2018.
The race for District 27 between Democrat Dolores Guzman and Republican Webster Barnaby was also separated by less than a percentage point.
6:30 p.m. Polls close in 30 minutes
Polls in most of Florida, Volusia County included, close at 7 p.m. Voting has been largely smooth throughout most of Tuesday, with some long lines at precincts at times but no major issues.
Volusia County Supervisor of Elections Lisa Lewis estimated there had been 76 percent turnout overall as of 6:15 p.m.
Results of early and mail-in ballots — which make up a record portion of the vote this year — will come in relatively quickly after 7 p.m., with day-of election votes cast at precincts rolling in after.
Statewide results won’t be reported until 8 p.m. Eastern time, when polls close in the Florida Panhandle, part of which is in the Central time zone. Official statewide results can be seen at https://floridaelectionwatch.gov.
Volusia County results can be viewed through the Volusia County Department of Elections website, at https://vcservices2.vcgov.org/Elections/results.htm.
4:00 p.m.: All quiet on the western front — this morning, at least
Beacon writer Al Everson penned the following short update about his own experience voting Tuesday morning.
When I went to vote at approximately 10 a.m., there was absolutely no problem getting into the polling place at Trinity Assembly of God in Deltona. There was only one person ahead of me, as I stood socially distanced from the poll workers’ table. Only a few other voters, maybe five or six, were at the marking tables in the school gym.
After showing my picture ID and scrawling my name on a screen with my right index finger — I should get an F for penmanship — I was given my ballot, as well as a ballpoint pen in a cellophane wrapper to mark my choices.
As I was leaving, a few more people came into the building.
There was a stark contrast to this election year. What truly amazed me when I arrived at the precinct was the absence of people waving signs or handing out cards for their favorite candidates.
In every prior election where I have voted at Trinity, there have usually been dozens of zealous partisans on hand seeking to win the votes of those few who may still be undecided as they enter to vote. This morning, there was no one. I even wondered at first if I was at the right precinct.
I had to check my voter-registration card, just to be sure. I was in the right place, but it did seem strange.
One more note: When I hear that this year’s voter turnout may be 80 percent or greater, I am reminded of the 1992 election. That year, when a well-known and outspoken billionaire — not Donald Trump, but Ross Perot — upset the political system, I understand the turnout in Volusia County was 87 percent. I believe it, as I had to stand in line for four hours at my precinct to cast my ballot, before returning to work. I took a book with me to read while waiting.
That, by the way, was before early voting came into being.
If you are wondering, in 1992, I voted for Perot, the outsider. Sometimes disruption is a good thing.
It may be worth noting, too, that the calendar for 2020 is the same as it was for 1992. Nov. 3 is Election Day this year, and Tuesday, Nov. 3, was Election Day in ’92.
— Al Everson
1:30 p.m. Voters share views at DeLand Middle School
Around noon, there wasn’t a long line of voters outside at the DeLand Middle School polling location, which was reportedly busier earlier Tuesday morning.
Voters there included Monica Simpson and Eric McClendon, the latter of whom was a first-time voter.
“Well, me, I’m a convicted felon, so it’s my first time voting,” he said. “I’m so happy to vote.”
The coronavirus pandemic was the primary issue on his mind.
“That brought me out, and I hope it brought a lot of other people out. Me and my girlfriend, we suffered from the coronavirus,” McClendon said. “It hit us kind of hard, and we want more attention paid to what’s going on. People are getting sick. It’s not over. I just lost a close friend of mine, since first grade; we went to his funeral last week. It’s still happening.”
Simpson’s primary concern was racism and bigotry.
“It is sad when I have a 12-year-old daughter who has cried and is scared to go out because she feels like because of her skin tone, she is going to be killed,” she said. “Our president is teaching divisive bigotry, sexism [and] racism. I feel like he doesn’t care about anybody, with the exception if you’re a millionaire. He just teaches hatred. I know America is better than this.”
McClendon sounded an optimistic tone, all in all.
“We need to remain optimistic. We’re Americans — we’re the greatest,” he said. “We’re going to be OK. It’s just a rough patch, [but] we’re going to be fine. We’ve got to remain optimistic. It’s kind of hard right now, but we have to remain optimistic, and we’ll be fine. We always have been.”
Military veteran Robert Loria was also among the voters.
“I voted for America — that’s what I voted for. I voted for the way things should be, and the way I grew up, and what I defended,” he said. “I think it’s one of the biggest elections that I’ve been alive for, and I’m 43 years old. It’s the biggest one I’ve ever been a part of, and it’s more important than anything in the world.”
“I don’t think it really matters who wins, just that that person does what they’re supposed to do and leads this country into a future [that’s] not a communist or socialist country — we’re not built for that,” he added.
UPDATE 1:07 p.m.: Faulty memory card hangs up early votes in New Smyrna Beach
Some 17,456 ballots cast in early voting at the New Smyrna Beach Regional Library had to be run again through vote-tabulating machines at the Elections Office today, after a memory-stick malfunction prevented the NSB vote from being electronically uploaded.
That was the only hitch, however, according to Volusia County Elections Supervisor Lisa Lewis, in a day of otherwise smooth voting across the county.
As the canvassing board sat in session at the Elections Office, 1750 S. Woodland Blvd., workers were rerunning the ballots through vote tabulators at about 12:30 p.m. today.
Canvassing board members Frank Bruno, a longtime leader of the Democratic Party in Volusia County, and County Judge Chris Kelly, a Republican whose profession requires him to be apolitical, duplicated a small number of ballots that, for one reason or another, could not be counted by machine.
That might happen, Lewis said, if a ballot is torn, for example, or if the writing instrument used to fill out the ballot didn’t mark dark enough to be read by the machine.
Ballot-duplicating is done in the open, by two members of the canvassing board. The original ballot that couldn’t be machine-read is retained, and the newly created duplicate ballot is counted.
The canvassing board convened this morning at 10, and will be on duty through the end of the election doing such work as duplicating ballots as needed, and reviewing and making decisions about questionable ballots. Their meetings are open to the public.
According to a report reviewed by the canvassing board today, the Volusia County Elections Office mailed out 175,326 ballots and had received back 141,421. The report shows 118 of those returned ballots were in limbo as of the report, because they weren’t signed. In the case of another 394 ballots, the signature didn’t match the signature on file with the Elections Office.
Supervisor Lewis said the Elections Office is attempting to contact those voters whose ballots have signature problems. The voters have until 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5, to cure the problems.
Voters wondering if their mailed-in ballots have been counted may check at www.volusiaelections.org, at this link: https://www.voterfocus.com/VoterInformationLookup/voterSearch?county=vol
— Barb Shepherd
12:30 p.m. Voters speak out at Orange City United Methodist Church polling place
Beacon reporter Noah Hertz spoke with voters at Orange City United Methodist Church, one of many polling places in West Volusia. A sizable line of voters wrapped around the church around noon Tuesday.
Voter Bob Weaver, for example, has been voting for more than 60 years, and called the practice very important.
Another voter, Brittney Fox, said her children, Delainey and Decker, were central to her vote.
“I’m voting to make sure everyone’s voice is heard no matter what their opinions are,” she said. “To make sure that my children have a good future. To just make sure freedom is a thing.”
She decried the incivility that has been going on as of late, and called for more understanding between people of different beliefs.
“There’s a lot of, in general, hate going on,” Fox said. “It doesn’t matter what side you’re on. I feel like everybody should practice kindness no matter what.”
11:30 a.m. Voting underway, complete with free hot dogs, at the Chisholm Community Center in DeLand
Former Volusia County Councilwoman Joyce Cusack paid for free hot dogs for voters at the Chisholm Community Center in DeLand.
Willie Mack and Howard Johnson at the Chisholm Community Center in DeLand
Willie Mack and Howard Johnson were on-site at the Chisholm Community Center in DeLand to grill up free hot dogs for voters, courtesy of former Volusia County Councilwoman Joyce Cusack. The voting site was not overly busy according to Beacon reporter Eli Witek, but there was a steady flow of voters at the precinct.
11 a.m. Voters sound off at Spirit Elementary School in Deltona
Spirit Elementary School in Deltona was also a busy polling place Tuesday morning, according to Beacon reporter Noah Hertz.
Among the voters there was Bubba Imes, who feels voting is a civic duty.
“It’s your public duty. That’s what you should do: Be responsible for your world, your state, your county. Vote in every election,” he said. “I have since I was 18, and I’m over 60.”
He said this election had special importance, as well.
“They’re all important, but I think this one is [in] a crisis. We need good leadership, and it should be better,” Imes added. “Things will get better — we’ve got to keep remembering that. Everybody’s got to do their part, mask and everything else. Patience, perseverance.”
David Schexnayder said he was voting to make his voice heard, and that he has been an active voter since age 18.
“I’ve voted in maybe 10, 11 [elections],” he said. “This feels like the most important. I think we will not see something like this again, at least not in my lifetime.”
Carlos Fabre also shared the feeling that this election would be a pivotal one.
“[I voted] because I believe in democracy, and that’s a constitutional right I have as a U.S. citizen. We have too many things that can be jeopardized and are at risk,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who wins or loses, we have to vote and show the world that this is the most democratic country in the world. Social distance, wear a mask, and go out and vote!”
Mirtha Delgado also felt similarly.
“[I voted] because I want to make a difference. I am an active voter,” she said. “There’s more excitement this year.”
“I want to make a difference. I don’t want more racism,” Delgado added. “I want to see a change. I want to see the America we used to have. I never used to experience racism before now.”
10:22 a.m. When results will come in
Volusia County will begin reporting results shortly after 7 p.m., and we should have results in many local and state races in the following hour.
Like the rest of the state, Volusia County has been counting mail-in ballots — which the county has already seen a record level of turnout through — since Oct. 5.
However, elections officials across the country have warned that results in the hotly contested presidential election may not be available until after Tuesday night.
9 a.m.: Quotes from DeBary voters
Paulina Gardner voted in-person for the first time Tuesday morning in DeBary.
“I voted because I’m a woman of a minority background: Filipino, and Czech. It’s important to come out today and speak your voice,” she said. “I think this has definitely been a year of drawing lines on what your boundaries are. I think this is one of those times where it’s important to speak what’s important to you, and where you draw your lines. It just felt important to do today.”
Mike Setteducati and Judy Forrester were also among the voters at DeBary Elementary School this morning.
“It’s your right to vote,” Forrester said.
“It’s a very important election this year. Of course, every election is really important,” said Setteducati. “This one, there’s more at stake.”
“Either communism or freedom, that’s the difference,” Forrester added.
The couple, in their 60s, said they have voted in every election they’ve been able to.
8:35 a.m., DeBary
Turnout appeared to be high at the DeBary Elementary School voting site in the River City, with a line wrapping around the building, according to Beacon reporter Noah Hertz.