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Pinellas County
Eight municipalities vote on Tuesday
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Time is running out for voters in eight municipalities to cast a ballot in the March 12 elections. Polls open Tuesday at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

Residents in Belleair Bluffs, Gulfport, Kenneth City, Oldsmar, Seminole, South Pasadena, Tarpon Springs and Treasure Island can find their polling places and view sample ballots at the Pinellas County Supervisor of Election’s website, votepinellas.com.

The races

In Belleair Bluffs, George Lawton is running against incumbents Jack Nazario and Suzy Sofer for two seats on the city commission.

The job of mayor is up for grabs in Gulfport. Sam Henderson and Robert E. Worthington are running for the job held for 27 years by Mike Yakes, who has retired. Voters also will decide whether to amend charter rules for filling vacancies.

Kenneth City voters can pick two of four names for positions on the council. Incumbent Troy Campbell, who currently serves as vice mayor, is running with newcomers Albert Leonce Carrier, Joanne DeSimone and Wanda Dudley. Incumbent Ron Sneed did not seek re-election.

Oldsmar voters will pick one from a field of three for a council position. Gabby McGee, Dan Saracki and Sunda Yantiss-Colon are running for Seat 3 on the council, which is currently held by Doug Bevis. Bevis ran unopposed for the office of mayor, after current Mayor Jim Ronecker decided not to run again.

Seminole voters will pick two from a list of four for seats on the city council. Thomas Christy Sr. and Matt Nilssen are challenging incumbents Thomas Barnhorn and James Quinn.

South Pasadena voters can choose between incumbent Larry Crowley and challenger Dan Calabria for the job of mayor. Tarpon Springs will elect a new commissioner from a field of four to replace Commissioner Chris Alahouzos. Voters will choose between David Banther, Jim Bouldin, Tommy Frain and Timothy Keffalas.

Voters in Treasure Island have five referendum questions on the ballot. The first asks voters to approve an increase of two feet for the maximum height of buildings citywide to compensate for flood safety rules that require two additional feet of vertical clearance before the first floor of a building.

The next four questions involve changes to allow for more flexibility for the downtown redevelopment district.

Residents will decide whether to allow density of 24 residential dwelling units per acre as part of a mixed-use development project. They’ll also have a chance to say yes or no to two proposed density increases that would allow 60 tourist dwelling units per acre in the downtown redevelopment area. Voters will also decide on a density increase of up to 15 residential units per acre.

Mail ballots

As of March 8, 35 percent of 26,232 mail ballots had been returned, according to a report posted on votepinellas.com.

South Pasadena led the way with 48.5 percent of 1,198 mail ballots returned, bringing its pre-election day voter turnout to just over 27 percent of the city’s 3,534 registered voters.

Belleair Bluffs and Treasure Island each have a 42.8 percent return of mail ballots, as of March 8. Belleair Bluffs has 1,664 voters registered to participate in the March 12 election and 305, or 18 percent, have already cast a ballot. Treasure Island has 5,367 registered voters. Pre-election turnout is running at nearly 20 percent with 1,066 ballots returned.

Gulfport voters have returned 42.5 percent of 3,375 ballots requested. With 8,674 eligible voters in the city, turnout thus far is nearly 17 percent.

Kenneth City’s residents have returned 38.8 percent of 1,126 ballots requested, bringing its pre-election voter turnout to just over 15 percent of the 2,843 registered voters.

Voters in Oldsmar have returned 33 percent of 3,432 mail ballot requests. Pre-election turnout of the 9,256 registered voters is slightly more than 12 percent.

Tarpon Springs’ mail ballot return was 31.5 percent as of March 8 and pre-election day voter turnout was running at 12.65 percent of 16,914 registered voters.

Seminole’s voters were in last place in the number of mail ballots returned with only 28.5 percent of 6,303 mail ballots received by a Elections Office as of March 8. The city has 12,304 registered voters. Pre-election day turnout was running at 14.6 percent.

Mail ballots returned by Madeira Beach residents were not counted, according to a statement posted on the Elections Office website. The city canceled its election after District 3 incumbent Nancy Oakley dropped out of the race Feb. 12, leaving Margie Poe on the ballot without opposition.

Mail ballots must be received by 7 p.m. Election Day in any Elections Office. Mail ballots cannot be received at precinct polling places. Persons who receive a mail ballot and decide to vote at the poll must take their mail ballot to be canceled.

Election reminders

The Supervisor of Elections office offers a few reminders for those planning to vote at the polls Tuesday, March 12, including the following.

• State law requires that voters cast ballots in the precinct in which they reside. Persons who have moved are required to vote in your new home precinct.

• Polling places for municipal elections may be different from those for countywide elections. Voters are encouraged to confirm their polling places by visiting www.votepinellas.com or calling 464-VOTE (8683).

• Bring photo and signature identification with to the polls to avoid delays and extra paperwork. Anyone without valid and current photo and signature ID may vote a provisional ballot. The canvassing board will later determine the validity of any provisional ballots. Valid provisional ballots will be included in official election results.

• State law requires voters who make out-of-county address changes at the polls to vote a provisional ballot, except for active military voters and their families. Address changes can be made by calling 464-VOTE (8683) or emailing election@votepinellas.com; include date of birth.

• No political activity or campaign signs are allowed inside the polling place or within 100 feet of the polling place entrance. Exit polling is permitted in designated areas as voters are leaving the polls.

• No photography is allowed inside the polling place.

TBNweekly.com will post election results are soon as possible after they are finalized Tuesday night.
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