Orange County Registered Voters: You Can Vote in Person Today

August 3, 2020 – Orange County voters: You can vote today in person at designated Early Vote Locations throughout the county. Hours: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. The Locations are listed on your Sample Ballot but if you don’t have it handy, click on the Supervisor of Elections Office website and select the Voters and Early Voting tabs. Elecitons office

We probably can agree now that voting early either by mail or in person at an Early Voting Location is ideal for the Florida Primary Election, just several weeks away.

Orange County registered voters have a total of 14 days (including today) to vote at one of the early voting locations throughout the county: Aug. 3- Aug. 16. Hours: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Typically, the lines are shorter during onsite early voting than any particular time on Election Day.

Suggestion to voters: Take your completed Sample Ballot with you. That will save even more time and effort.

The Primary Election Day is on August 18.

If you have any questions or concerns about voting early at one of the designated locations especially about COVID-19 precautions, call the Supervisor of Elections Office, (407) 836-2070 or go to the website:

Note: If you want to stay home and vote by mail, you can. Just request a Vote-By-Mail ballot before 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 8. Complete it, sign the return envelope and return it so it is at the Elections Office by Election Day by 7 p.m. on August 18. Again, if you have questions, call the Supervisor of Elections Office, (407) 836-2070.

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Feeding the Hungry: Grassroots Effort for Month of July

July 15, 2020 (Pine Hills/Orlando) — Editor’s Note: The volunteers were told to be there at 9 a.m. – to unload the U-Haul, set up and package the food to be distributed a couple of hours later. This was the third occasion of a Weekly Food Distribution for the entire month of July at the Pine Hills Community Center. The team I worked with broke down about 26 giant croker sacks of white potatoes and placed three or four of them each into plastic bags and tied the bags up. Well, we used little bag ties until another volunteer came over and showed us a faster way (the old school way): She just tied a knot at the top of one of the bags and kept it moving. Before we knew it, we were done and on to the next job!

Shout Out and Big Ups to Sandra Fatmi-Hall, Executive Director of United Foundation of Central Florida and Dr. Trisha Bailey, of Bailey’s Medical Equipment and Supplies, for hearing about a need in the community and leaping into action.

“She called me to see what the kids needed. I told her I would let her know,” said Hall said of her friend, Dr. Bailey. “Then, a few days after that, I got word that phone calls were coming in of people needing food. I went out and bought some groceries. She said, ‘Honey, how much do I owe you.'”

And the rest is history, as they say. So on Wednesdays, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., they get together some volunteers and line up business partners who answer calls for donations, and the group sets up in front of the community center off Powers Drive. They distribute at no cost to families: meats, fresh vegetables, rice and beans, eggs; milk, potatoes, etc. With instructions to keep social distance and properly wear face masks, volunteers load people’s vehicles with the food, drinks and paper goods. This past Wednesday, 350 food packages were handed out. In Hall’s estimation, each package was enough to feed a family of four. There were more than 40 volunteers, she said.

What makes this food distribution unique is its frequency in the heart of the Pine Hills community. Typically, other organizations and churches in the vicinity sponsor food giveaways for one day. Also, it’s a grassroots effort and teenagers from Hall’s organization (based at Evans High School) are regular volunteers. I witnessed them diligently working; Come to think of it, I don’t recall seeing any of them with cell phones!

Hall, an active community leader, admitted the food distributed each week is never the same and the effort takes a lot of money. She was grateful for complete strangers donating – $100 here, $200 there and even someone who saw the effort posted on ClickOrlando. The person gave her $500 to help buy food.

“She said I’ve always loved the Pine Hills community,” Hall said of the gracious donor. “To me, the value is seeing people blessed. Another lady walked by and gave $250. This is a blessing.”

The people I spoke to as they drove by were grateful. They said “thank you” and “God bless you for doing this.”

Other key partners, including Feed the Need and 4 Rivers Smokehouse restaurant, provided food, volunteers and/or money.

For more information about this effort and to help out, contact Sandra Fatmi-Hall at (770) 789-7004, Email: or on Facebook: SandraFatmi-Hall.

-Trish Martin, Founder & Editor

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Elections Office Open This Saturday Before Registration Deadline

July 13, 2020 (Orlando) — The Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office is doing its part to make sure people have ample time to register in order to vote in the August Primary Election: The office will be open this Saturday, July 18, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and on Monday, July 20, from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., which is the deadline to register or select a political party.

“This is a chance for voters who cannot come in during our normal business hours to make sure they get registered or update their party affiliation before the deadline,” said Bill Cowles, Supervisor of Elections in a press release. “Voters can call or come in this Saturday to make sure their information is up-to-date, or make changes if needed.”

Voters: Take advantage because the office is typically closed on the weekends.

If you have moved, changed political parties, got married or divorced (changed your name), contact the elections office and update your information. You may avoid any confusion on Primary Election Day – Tuesday, August 18.

This is extremely important, considering our current climate in Florida with the COVID-19/Coronavirus spreading like wildfire throughout the state and restrictions that may be in place on election days as far as the number of people who can vote in a precinct at one time.

More and more people are opting to stay home and vote by mail in ballot. If the elections office does not have your current address, they cannot ensure that you will get your ballot.

Voters in August will select candidates running for Orange County Sheriff, Orange County Property Appraiser, school board and county commission, to name a few.

Keep in mind: Florida is a closed primary state so if you want to vote on those key public offices, you must select a political party: Democrat or Republican. You will see fewer positions to vote on if you register with a third party or don’t select a party at all. Still vote. Your vote is your voice.

Visit or call (407) 856-2070 for more information. The Elections Office is located at: 119 W. Kaley Street, Orlando, FL 32806.

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Don’t Wait: Register to Vote Where You Live to Vote in Upcoming Elections

June 19, 2020 (Orange County, FL) — It seems like a long time from now but we know that with everything going on in our world, time flies by. It’s important that if you plan to vote in the crucial Primary Election in August, you must make sure you are registered to vote where you live and in the party of your choice.

The deadline to register to vote or update you party affiliation is Monday, July 20 (about a month from now), according the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office. Also, if you plan to vote by mail you must request a ballot by 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 8. The Primary Election is on Tuesday, August 18.

Florida is a closed primary state so you have to choose a party from which to select candidates.

In Orange County, voters will have a ballot full of names for Orange County Sheriff; Seven candidates are running against first-term Sheriff John Mina and there are several people running in each of the three open Orange County Commission seats. Same thing with the Property Appraiser position and four open School Board seats.

As we watch Americans of all races, ages and backgrounds protest and demand changes in light of a disproportionate number of Black people around the country being murdered at the hands of law enforcement officers, we are reminded that local positions are responsible for what happens in our communities. They work for residents, the main taxpayers. We all want to live in peace and expect law enforcement to protect and serve us. We want fair-minded people who are not afraid to do the right thing in the midst of racial tensions and a pandemic.

Your can register to vote or update your contact information or party affiliation at local driver license offices, public libraries as well as the Center for Independent Living and elections office.

The Orange County Elctions Office is located at 119 W. Kaley Street, Orlando, FL 32806. Phone: 407-836-2070. Website:

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COVID-19 Testing Available for Uninsured Residents

Do you want to get tested for the COVID-19 (a.k.a. Coronavirus) but don’t think you can because you don’t have health insurance? Well, you can and at no cost at these locations. (This information was complied by the folks managing the Central Florida Resilience System.)


Grace Medical Home will be offering FREE Testing 9am – 12 p.m. every Friday in the month of June. Patients do not need to be showing symptoms and no appointment is necessary. For more information contact Susan Gardner at ***@***.*** (you can click on the asterics to send an email).

FREE NO INSURANCE REQUIRED Mon June 22nd at the Farmworkers Association Register here

FREE NO INSURANCE REQUIRED Tue June 23rd at John Bridge Community Center, Apopka Register here

FREE NO INSURANCE REQUIRED Wed June 24th at Neighborhood Center for Families in Zellwood Register here

Please share this information; You never know who may need it.

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Great is Thy Faithfulness: OCN Turns 9

9 Year Anniversary Achievement
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You registered on 9 years ago.
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Singing, “Great is thy faithfulness, Great is thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see! All I have needed, thy hands have provided. Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!” It’s certainly by The Lord’s mercieS that we are not consumed, because his compassionS they fail not. Amen. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (Inspiration from the hymn and Lamentations 3: 22-23, Holy Bible) This is a special morning for Orlando Community News: God has so graciously allowed it to be online for 9 years – TODAY. Someone praise God with me! I’m thankful for the vision and the vehicle to tell people about GOOD news happening every day around us and HELPFUL information to give residents an opportunity to live better lives – in just about every way. May God bless each one of you for staying connected by registering for updates here, following me on here or sharing information you read here. Please keep this publication in your prayers. I believe in the power of prayer and I know that God will lead me to even higher heights! Thank you and I will see you real soon because there is so much Good Stuff to talk about! I love you with the love of God!

-Trish Martin, Founder and Publishing Editor, Orlando Community News

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Election Registration Deadline: Tuesday, Feb. 18

February 6, 2020 (Orange County, FL) — It’s one thing to have emotions run all over the place, about the Impeachment of Donald John Trump and it’s another to do something about it.

There are 11 Democratic candidates still in the 2020 Presidential race. There are also two candidates on the Republican side, running against Trump, according to the latest news reports. The deadline to register to vote in the Florida Presidential Preference Primary election when you can choose one of those candidates is Tuesday, February 18.

Let your voice be heard: make sure you are registered where you live and then, VOTE.

The primary election is on March 17 and you must be registered with either the Democratic Party or Republican Party. Pick one, if you haven’t already, because Florida is a closed primary state, meaning only Democrats can vote in the Democratic primary election and only Republicans can vote in theirs.

“About 30 percent of Orange County registered voters have no party affiliation,” said Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles in a recent press release. “Unless they update their party affiliation by Feb. 18, they will not have the chance to vote in the Presidential Preference Primary.”

Many people move into the state and between counties within the state and often forget to update their registration with their new address and/or name changes. Some new to the state don’t know it’s a closed primary state and that they have to pick a party in order to vote, the press release noted. (Not all states have closed primaries like Florida.)

Per election officials, Feb. 18 is also the deadline to vote in six upcoming city elections: Apopka, Belle Isle, Eatonville, Maitland, Winter Garden and Winter Park. (City Elections are just as important as national elections because most of our immediate needs have to do with what’s happening in our local communities.)

Early voting for both the Presidential Preference Primary and the city elections will be held daily March 2 – March 15, from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. The deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot is 5 p.m. on March 7.

On Dec. 18, Trump became only the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. A fourth, Richard Nixon, resigned before he was formally impeached. A majority of the House of Representatives voted to impeach him for Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress. The Senate acquitted Trump on Feb. 5, in what some called an invalid trial because Republican senators (Senate majority) voted against hearing any key witnesses and reviewing any key documents. Basically, no first hand evidence was presented. Trump’s acquittal came a day after he delivered his State of the Union speech.


The best way to check your registration status is go to the Orange County Supervisor of Elections website: at or call the office at (407) 836-2070.

Orlando Community News, 2020
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Orlando: It’s Election Day in District 6

BD6B95E0-1E76-4575-B083-DC01CA93AA84December 3, 2019 (Orlando) – It’s Election Day in the City of Orlando. If you live in District 6, go to your polling place and vote, if you haven’t already voted early or voted by mail-in ballot.

This is a Run-off election between Bakari Burns and Gary Siplin. They want to be your city commissioner so Goggle them or ask somebody about them, choose one and go vote!

Every vote counts! Their race is in a run-off election because no one got a majority of the votes in the city’s most recent election. (Burns got 46% of the votes, Siplin got 39%, Lawanna Gelzer got 14%). A little over 200 votes separated Burns and Siplin.)

So people – remember to vote today, if you live in city limits and in District 6 – which includes a huge chunk of the southwest portion of the city.

Orlando Commissioners are elected from six respective districts. The commissioners are elected for four-year terms. The District 6 commission seat was formerly held by long-time commissioner Sam B. Ings, who ran in the mayoral race but lost.

If you’re registered to vote but not sure what district you live in or go to the Orange County Supervisor of Elections website – or call the elections office: (407) 836-2070.

Now is not the time to stay home! #YourVoteisYourVoice


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Orlando: Early Voting Starts October 28

Early voting in the City of Orlando starts next Monday, October 28 and runs through the the following Saturday and Sunday. Early voting will take place at the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office, 119 W. Kaley Street, Orlando, FL 32806.

The hours on Oct. 28 – Nov. 1: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 3: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Here are some other important dates for the city's General Election:

Oct. 24 at 10 a.m. - Public test of voting equipment

Oct. 26 at 5 p.m. - Deadline to request a Vote-By-Mail ballot

Oct. 31 - Last day to make donations to candidates

Nov. 5 from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. - ELECTION DAY


All elections are important but this one is crucial for Orlando because voters will either re-elect long-term Mayor Buddy Dyer (first elected in 2003) or select from two other candidates: long-term District 6 Commissioner Sam B. Ings (former police captain who has run against Dyer before and acted as mayor pro-tem a couple of times) and Navy veteran and non-profit consultant Aretha Simons (who announced her candidacy back in 2017.) Ings says it’s time for a new era of leadership and Simons says it’s time for a new voice at City Hall. 

City Council seats 2, 4 and 6 are also being voted on, although only Incumbent Antonio “Tony” Ortiz has qualified for his District 2 seat. Candidates for District 4: Incumbent Patty Sheehan and Corey DeVogel (who qualified but withdrew). Candidates for District 6:  Bakari Burns, Lawanna Gelzer and Gary Siplin. 

Election officials have a friendly reminder also: Even though your residential address says Orlando, FL, you may not live within Orlando city limits. This election for the City of Orlando only. Check your voter registration/eligibility ahead of Election Day:


Orlando Community News, 2019



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Registration Deadline October 7 for Orlando Elections

October 3, 2019 (Orlando) — With national news bombarding headlines and TV news, residents here who want to vote in next month’s city elections have to refocus on what’s happening in town: First, the deadline to register is Monday, Oct. 7, for the City of Orlando’s General Election in November. In addition, Early Voting starts a few weeks later on October 28.

If you live in the city limits of Orlando and you’re already registered, great! You may want contact all of your family members and neighbors to remind them about the registration deadline and early voting. Orlando is the only city in Orange County that has an election in November. It is set for Tuesday, November 5.

Voters will either keep current Mayor Buddy Dyer or elect a brand new mayor. (He has competition from District 6 Commissioner Sam B. Ings and Aretha Simons, who filed her intentions to run back in November 2017.)

Also, city commission seats 2,4 and 6 are up for grabs. District 2 Commissioner Antonio (Tony) Ortiz has no competition for his seat. Corey DeVogel recently joined the District 4 race against incumbent Commissioner Patty Sheehan.  Three candidates: Gary Siplin, Lawanna Gelzer and Bakari Burns are vying for the District 6 seat. (Vicki-Elaine Felder withdrew from the race.)

You can register or update your existing voter registration online at:, at a driver’s license office, at a public library; at the Center for Independent Living, WIC/DCF offices and at any elections office. You can also register to vote in person at the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office: 119 W. Kaley Street, Orlando, FL 32806. (407) 836-2070.


Orlando Community News, 2019



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