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Here’s everything you need to know about voting in Pinellas County

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections released a 2016 Presidential Preference Primary fact sheet containing all necessary information for the March 15th election.

There are nearly 50,000 voters who won’t be able to cast a ballot for a presidential candidate. That’s how many voters are registered with no party affiliation of another third party.
Those individuals can still vote in municipal elections if they are registered in one of the 11 municipalities with candidates on the ballot this year.
Those cities include Gulfport, Pinellas Park, Belleair, Madeira Beach, St. Pete Beach, Clearwater, Oldsmar, Tarpon Springs, Treasure Island, Indian Rocks Beach and South Pasadena.
Democrats and Republicans are nearly even in Pinellas. There are 224,272 Democrats and 223,702 Republicans registered in the county.
Pinellas has 299 precincts spread among 205 polling places. A list of those polling places is available on the Supervisor of Elections website.
More than 212,000 mail ballots have been sent out as of March 3. Of those more than 101,000 were sent to Republicans with just 96,000 to Democrats.
Less than half of those have been retired. Republicans have returned more than double the ballots than Democrats with a 92,000/43,000 split.
The last day to request a mail ballot is 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday. The Supervisor of Elections office recommends allowing at least five days for ballots to be returned through the mail. They are due to one of three Supervisor of Elections offices by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day.
The ballots can be dropped off at one of those offices or at any of 12 remote drop-off sites throughout the county. Locations are available on the Supervisor’s website.
Early voting opens this Saturday and runs through Sunday, March 13. Three offices are open from 10 a.m.through 6:00 p.m.on Saturdays and Sundays and 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The offices are located at the County building at 501 First Avenue North in St. Pete across the street from City Hall, the Election Service Center on 13001 Starkey Road in Largo, the Pinellas County Courthouse at 315 Court Street in Room 117 in Clearwater.
Voter turnout in the 2012 Presidential Preference Primary was 40.57 percent. In 2008 it was 41.31 percent. Going back to 2004 turnout was just 21.35 percent. In 2000 it was just 17.39 percent. Republican turnout in 2008 and 2000 when both parties participated in Primaries was higher than Democratic. In 2012 only Republicans voted in the Presidential Preference Primary. In 2004 only Democrats voted.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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