Pinellas SOE mails early ballots to 115,258 voters for Presidential Preference Primary

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Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark said 115,258 ballots were mailed to domestic voters today (January 3) for the January 31 Presidential Preference Primary (PPP) and Municipal Elections. In addition, 917 ballots have been mailed to absent military and overseas voters or picked up in elections offices.

116,175 ballots have been mailed for the January 31 elections:  94,641 to Republican voters; 21,534 to minor party/no party affiliation voters who are only eligible to vote in municipal elections.

Knowing that almost 127,000 mail ballot requests on file would expire after the 2010 General Election because of a change in state law, Clark revised their ballot return envelopes for that election so Pinellas voters could renew requests by checking a box on the envelope.  As a result, 87,276 voters chose to renew their requests for mail ballots.

Currently, the total number of ballot requests for the 2012 elections is 227,777, which is 38% of the 600,674 registered voters.

“Voters have embraced the convenience of voting by mail.  59% of our voters used mail ballots in the 2010 Primary and 51% in the 2010 General.  The numbers were much higher in recent municipal elections, and we feel this positive trend will continue,” Clark said.

Only the Republican Party is having a presidential primary. Florida is a “closed primary” state; only registered Republicans are eligible to vote for the Republican presidential nominee.

Five municipalities will also have elections on January 31. All registered voters in Clearwater, Kenneth City, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, and St. Pete Beach Districts 1 and 3 may vote in their respective nonpartisan municipal elections.

A new law requires that the first domestic ballots be mailed between 35 and 28 days prior to an election. “Since the new mailing schedule started right after Christmas, we chose to mail January 3, after the holiday mail and travel,” Clark said.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.