Pinellas County voters have a number of decisions to make by Election Day – Aug. 26.
Voter registration paves the way. Currently, 617,504 registered voters in the county – 219,477 Republicans, 223,638 Democrats and 174,389 other. Residents who aren’t yet registered have until Monday, July 28, to do so.
July 28 also is the deadline to change political party affiliations.
Florida is a “closed primary” state. Only voters registered with a political party may vote in that party’s primary, explains Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark. All registered voters may vote on the county referendum question and nonpartisan races on the Primary ballot, including judicial and school board races.
The County Commissioners District 6 race has only two candidates and they are Republicans. State law requires that a Universal Primary decide the winner. A Universal Primary allows all registered voters in District 6 to vote in this race regardless of party affiliation. The candidate who receives the most votes will be the winner. The race will not appear on the November general election ballot.
Voter registration applications are available at any Supervisor of Elections office, public library, tax collector office, government office handling social services or online at www.votepinellas.com. All new applications or party changes received by mail must be postmarked by July 28 to be valid for this election.
Mail ballots coming in
More than 6,000 Pinellas County voters have already cast their ballot in the Aug. 26 election, according to statistics reported by the Elections Office Friday, July 25.
Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark mailed 244,826 ballots to domestic voters July 22. An additional 2,657 were mailed to absent military and overseas voters July 9.
As of July 25, 248,048 mail ballots had been distributed and 2.5 percent had been returned to an Elections Office. Of the 6,227 returned, 42 percent were from registered Republicans and 41 percent were from Democrats. The remaining were from those registered as “other.”
Check your status
Clark is requesting that voters confirm ballot requests due to a recent mailing from the Voter Participation Center, a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. As of July 22, the Elections Office had received more than 1,300 mail ballot requests from voters responding to that mailing.
“The problem is that 87 percent of the voters already have ballot requests on file,” Clark said.
The organization’s mailer also generated 125 phone calls through July 22, of which all but five were from voters who already had requested mail ballots.
“We want to clear up any misinformation that voters may have regarding their request for mail ballots,” Clark said. “Of the 1,315 mail ballot requests we received through today (July 22), as a result of the Voter Participation Center mailer, 1,150 were duplicate requests that were already scheduled to be mailed.”
Voters can check the status of their mail ballot requests atwww.votepinellas.com by clicking on “Track Your Mail Ballot” or calling 464-VOTE (8683).
All eligible registered voters can request a mail ballot and vote in the comfort of their homes. To request a mail ballot, visitwww.votepinellas.com, call 464-VOTE (8683), or email@example.com and include date of birth.
Additional mail ballot requests will be fulfilled as received. The deadline to request a ballot be sent by mail is 5 p.m. Aug. 20.
The deadline for mail ballots to be received back at an Elections Office is 7 p.m. Aug. 26. Mail ballots cannot be returned at the polls. A list of drop-off locations is available at votepinellas.com.
Citizens can view sample ballots, based on their address, atwww.votepinellas.com. A composite sample ballot also is available.
“The composite sample ballot includes races for the Republican and Democratic primaries as well as nonpartisan races,” Clark said. “Voters may check their voter information cards to confirm their political parties, voting districts and precincts.”
Registered Republicans will cast ballots for their candidate to run in the Nov. 4 general election. They have a choice between incumbent Rick Scott and challengers Yinka Abosede Adeshina and Elizabeth Cuevas-Neunder.
In the race for state senator District 20, Republicans will decide between the incumbent Jack Latvala and Zahid Roy. In the three races for state representative, choices are between James Grant and Miriam Steinberg for District 64; Debbie Faulkner and Chris Sprowls for District 65 and Chris Latvala and Christopher Shepard in District 67; and Joshua Black and Bill Young in District 68.
In the race for county Commissioner District 2 – at large, Republicans can pick between incumbent Norm Roche and former state representative Ed Hooper. Seven names are on the ballot for the District 4 single member seat, currently held by Susan Latvala. The candidates are Dave Eggers, Johnny Johnson, Tim Keffalas, Wanda Kimsey, Macho Liberti, Peter Nehr and Jim Ronecker.
Registered Democrats also will make their choice for a candidate to run in November. The choice is between former governor Charlie Crist and Nan H. Rich. Democrats also will pick between George Sheldon and Perry E. Thurston to run for attorney general.
The final choice is for a candidate in the District 67 race for state representative. Voters can pick between Thomas D. Ryan, Steve Sarnoff and Shawna Vercher.
Republicans and Democrats that live in the county’s district 6 will be able to vote in a universal primary. Tom Rask is challenging incumbent John Morroni. Both are Republicans. No other candidates qualified for the race. The winner of the universal primary will decide the election. The race will not appear on the November ballot.
All registered voters will make choices in elections for Sixth Circuit judge positions and school board seats.
Laura Snell and Susan St. John are running for circuit judge, Group 1 and Ken Lark, Alicia Polk and Alan Scott Rosenthal are vying for circuit judge Group 2. Brian Battaglia and Kimberly “Kim Sharpe” are running for circuit judge, Group 16; Amanda Colon and Phil Matthey for Group 21; and Bruce Boyer and Jon Newlon for Group 35.
In the race for school board, District 2 at-large position, all voters can pick between incumbent Terry B. Krassner and Chris Tauchnitz, and Ken Curtis and incumbent Peggy O’Shea for the District 3 seat.
In the two single-member school board races, only those living within the district will vote. Beverley Billiris, John H. Nygren and Ken Peluso are running for the District 4 seat, and Maureen Ahern and incumbent Linda Lerner are running for the District 6 position.
The candidate receiving the majority of votes, more than 50 percent, will win. If no candidate receives a majority of votes, the two with the most votes will compete in a runoff during the Nov. 4 general election.
All registered voters also will vote yes or no on a referendum question concerning a proposed countywide tax exemption for qualified businesses.
More election information
Name and party changes may be made by sending a signed, written statement to the Supervisor of Elections including birth date or voter ID number.
Any updates, including signatures, can be made by completing and signing a voter registration application and returning it to the Supervisor of Elections.
For an updated list of voter registration events, visit www.votepinellas.com and select News and Events/Voter Education & Registration Events on the home page menu.