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Pinellas elections supervisor mails 200,000 presidential primary ballots

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

The Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections office mailed more than 200,000 ballots Tuesday to domestic voters for the March 15 Presidential Preference Primary. The ballots were sent to voters who requested mail ballots, civilian voters within the U.S., and active duty military voters living in Pinellas County.

The ballots were mailed to 93,415 Democrats, 98,618 Republicans and 13,973 independent or third party voters. A disproportionately small number of independent voters are receiving mail ballots because only Democrats and Republicans can vote in the presidential primary.

Independent voters receiving mail ballots are those who are eligible to vote in one of 11 municipalities with races or referendums on the ballot. Those include Belleair, Clearwater, Gulfport, Indian Rocks Beach, Madeira Beach, Oldsmar, Pinellas Park, South Pasadena, St. Pete Beach, Tarpon Springs, and Treasure Island (District 4).

Because Florida is a closed primary state Democrats are only permitted to vote in the Democratic Presidential Preference Primary. Republicans can only vote for Republican presidential candidates.

The Supervisor of Election’s Office will continue to mail ballots to those who request them. The deadline to do that is 5 p.m. March 9.

Ballots can be requested online at the SOE’s website, by phone at 727-464-VOTE (8683), or by emailing absentee@votepinellas.com. Requests will be fulfilled as they are received.

Ballots may be mailed in or dropped off. Ballots must be received at one of three SOE offices by 7 p.m. on Election Day, March 15. That’s the same time polls close.

If returning a ballot by mail, the Supervisor of Elections recommends allowing at least five days to ensure it’s received by Election Day.

In addition to the three SOE offices throughout Pinellas County, 12 remote locations will be open from Feb. 29 to March 14 to drop ballots. Times and locations of the remote drop-off sites are listed on the Supervisor’s website.

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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