It’s only been two weeks since Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark started sending mail-in ballots to thousands of Pinellas voters for the Aug. 30 election.
The election is called a primary election with certain races limited to members of a specific political party. Republicans will have choices of candidates for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House and Pinellas County property appraiser. Democrats will decide on candidates for U.S. Senate and, depending on their district, candidates for state Senate and House. Libertarians will have a choice of candidates for the U.S. Senate.
All voters, including those not registered by party, will be able to vote in a referendum for a state constitutional amendment on solar energy. All voters will have a chance to cast a ballot in at least one race for the Pinellas County School Board and for judicial candidates because those races are non-partisan. Depending on the voter’s district, some will also be able to cast a ballot for a second School Board member.
Through Wednesday, Clark had sent out a total of 253,406 ballots. That includes 2,750 sent to military and overseas voters between July 15 and 25 as well as ballots mailed to in-county voters since July 26.
Of those, 48,402, or about 19.1 percent of the ballots, have been voted and returned. That accounts for about 8 percent of the registered voters in Pinellas County.
Clark has sent out a few more ballots to Republicans (103,803) than to Democrats (96,439). She also sent 561 to Libertarians and 52,603 to those not registered by party or to voters registered in other parties. Republicans are also slightly in the lead when it comes to voted ballots. Republicans have cast 22,238 ballots and 21,277 Democrats have voted.
Voters who prefer to cast ballots in person can start doing so Aug. 20. Early voting will be available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The last day for early voting is Aug. 28. Early polling places will be open in all three Supervisor of Elections offices:
— County Courthouse, 315 Court St., Room 117, Clearwater
— Election Service Center,13001 Starkey Road, Starkey Lakes Corporate Center, Largo
— County Building, 501 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg
The Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections reminds voters that beginning Monday, remote ballot drop-off sites will be open. They will be available until Aug. 29. Some locations are open Saturdays – all are closed on Election Day. A complete schedule is included in mail ballot kits and available online at VotePinellas.com:
Five Tax Collector Offices:
— Tarpon Springs – 743 Pinellas Ave. S, Tarpon Springs
— North County – 29399 U.S. 19 N., Clearwater
— Gulf to Bay – 1663 Gulf to Bay Blvd., Clearwater
— South County – 1800 66th St. N, St. Petersburg
— Skyway Plaza – 1067 62nd Ave. S, St. Petersburg
Five Public Libraries:
— East Lake Community Library – 4125 East Lake Rd., Palm Harbor
— Oldsmar Public Library – 400 St. Petersburg Dr. E, Oldsmar
— Seminole Community Library – 9200 113th St. N, Seminole
— Barbara S. Ponce Public Library – 7770 52nd St., Pinellas Park
— James Weldon Johnson Branch Library – 1059 18th Ave. S, St. Petersburg
— Centre of Palm Harbor – 1500 16th St., Palm Harbor
— Gulfport Neighborhood Center – 1617 49th St. S., Gulfport
Election employees are stationed with secure ballot boxes inside each location to assist and hand out “I Voted” stickers. Voted mail ballots may also be dropped off at any of the three elections offices.
Voted mail ballots must be received at one of the three Supervisor of Elections Offices by 7 p.m. election day. Voters are advised to allow at least five days for their ballot to be returned by mail to the elections office. Voted mail ballots cannot be accepted at polling places. To request a mail ballot, visit VotePinellas.com, call (727) 464-VOTE (8683) or email MailBallot@VotePinellas.com. The deadline to request that a ballot be mailed is 5 p.m. Aug. 24.