Hurricane Zeta forces Fla. Panhandle voting sites to close early


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.

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.


Zeta expected to make landfall in southeast Louisiana Wednesday: NHC

Hurricane Zeta is set to be the fifth-named storm to make landfall in Louisiana this season.

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.

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