Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

St. Pete vote-by-mail numbers are looking good

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

More than 1,000 residents have already voted in the St. Pete Primary. Of the 6,223 ballots mailed to voters in District 7, 1,107 of them have been returned.

Ballots went out to 26 overseas and military voters on July 10. Another 6,100 ballots were mailed on July 21 to voters who had already requested them. The Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Office has sent out a couple here and there since the initial mailing as voters request them.

With 15 days until Election Day the ballots returned as of August 7 account for nearly 18 percent of all those mailed. In the 2013 primary election, there were just over 19,500 eligible voters. Of those 2,980 voted by absentee ballot and 1,679 voted at the polls. Overall voter turnout in that election was 23.8 percent.

Given that absentee turnout is already nearly half of what it was in 2013, it could be a good indicator that residents in District 7 are engaged in this race.

The August 2013 primary drew above-normal turnout as voters flocked to the polls to vote on the fate of the Pier. This election contains only one race on the primary ballot and that is the District 7 City Council race between Will Newton, Lisa Wheeler-Brown, Sheila Scott-Griffin, Aaron Sharpe and Lewis Stephens.

The pack of candidates is running to replace Wengay Newton, who is leaving the Council due to term limits. Newton has been a booming voice of advocacy in his district where two of the city’s poorest and most crime-laden communities lie. He’s called on council to find ways to better fund juvenile programs and led initiatives to keep young people out of jail.

Newton has also served as a check on both the Bill Foster and Rick Kriseman administrations. Voters in District 7 may be paying close attention to candidates to ensure their voices are continuing to be represented.

The election in that district also comes on the heels of a celebrated new Community Redevelopment Area covering parts of the district that could fund numerous programs in neighborhoods.

Mail ballots can still be requested through the Supervisor of Elections Office or website. The deadline to request a ballot be mailed is August 19. The ballots can be mailed back in to the supervisor’s office or returned to one of three offices throughout the county.

The closest office to voters in District 7 is the County Building at 501 First Avenue North in downtown St. Pete. There’s also a location in downtown Clearwater and in Largo on Starkey Road.

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 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

Latest from The Bay and the 'Burg

Go to Top