Fewer than 2,000 take part in early voting in Pinellas

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Early voting for the Aug. 26 election ended at 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24. According to statistics posted by the Supervisor of Elections Office, 1,856 cast a ballot over the nine-day early voting period.

Half the early votes came from registered Democrats, 41 percent from Republicans. The remaining 9 percent were ballots cast by those registered as other than Democrat or Republican.

Mail ballots are continuing to come in to the Elections offices. As of Aug. 24, 252,401 mail ballots had been distributed and 39.65 percent – 100,085 – had been returned. According to statistics from the Elections Office, there are 618,860 voters registered to participate in the Aug. 26 elections in Pinellas.

Forty-three percent of Republicans and 41 percent of Democrats had returned their mail ballot as of Aug. 24. The remaining 16 percent came from those registered as something other than one of the two major political parties.

There are 219,747 registered Republicans in Pinellas, 224,018 Democrats and 175,093 registered as other.

Mail ballots must be returned by 7 p.m. Election Day, Aug. 26. Per state law, mail ballots cannot be returned to a polling location. They must be returned to an Elections Office.

Remote drop-off locations are available throughout the county. Drop-off locations will not be open on Election Day. 

Ballots can be dropped off at any of the five Tax Collector Offices: 743 Pinellas Ave. S., Tarpon Springs; 29399 U.S. Hwy. 19 N. (near Curlew); Clearwater; 1663 Gulf to Bay Blvd., Clearwater; 1800 66th St. N., St. Petersburg; and 1067 62nd Ave. S., St. Petersburg.

Five public libraries are accepting ballots, including libraries at 4125 East Lake Road., Palm Harbor; 400 St. Petersburg Drive E., Oldsmar; 9200 113th St. N., Seminole; 7770 52nd St., Pinellas Park; and 1059 18th Ave. S., St. Petersburg.

Ballots also can be dropped off at Centre of Palm Harbor, 1500 16th St., Palm Harbor, and Gulfport Neighborhood Center, 1617 49th St. S., Gulfport.

Mail ballots may also be picked up at an Elections Office. Mail ballot pickup and voting in Elections Offices on Election Day is only permitted in the case of an emergency. State law requires that a voter or voter’s designee sign an affidavit affirming that the voter is unable to go to his/her polling place on Election Day due to an emergency and provide the reason for the emergency. This affidavit and the information provided becomes a public record.

On the ballots

Registered Republicans will vote for their favorite candidate to run for governor 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 races for state representative, registered Republicans can choose between 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.

District 64 also is on the Republican primary ballot; however, a Circuit Judge in Leon County disqualified the write-in candidate in that race. Votes cast during the Aug. 26 primary will not be counted. James Grant and Miriam Steinberg will vie for the District 64 seat during the universal primary Nov. 4.

Republicans will vote for their choice in the race for Pinellas County Commissioner District 2 – at large. Registered Republicans countywide 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. Only voters in District 4 are eligible to take part in the election.

Registered Democrats will choose between former governor Charlie Crist and Nan H. Rich for their candidate to appear on the Nov. 4 ballot. Democrats also will pick between George Sheldon and Perry E. Thurston to run for attorney general. The final choice in the Democratic primary 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 the Aug. 26 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 can 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, regardless of political affiliation, 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 can vote yes or no on a referendum question concerning a proposed countywide tax exemption for qualified businesses.

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