Registered voters in only eight Pinellas County municipalities cast their ballots in the March 12 2013 elections. Polls closed at 7 p.m.
Residents in Belleair Bluffs, Gulfport, Kenneth City, Oldsmar, Seminole, South Pasadena, Tarpon Springs and Treasure Island had the opportunity to vote by mail ballot and at the polls. The municipalities opted out of early voting.
Unofficial results were posted at the Supervisor of Elections website with many races decided within the first 30 minutes of counting. Results won’t be final until provisional ballots are counted and the Canvassing Board certifies the totals.
Nancy Whitlock, Elections Administrator, said “everything went very well” at the polls Tuesday and mail ballots continued to be popular with county voters with 10,027 of 26,232 ballots requested returned by March 12.
According to election results posted at votepinellas.com, 60,456 voters were eligible to vote March 12 and 13,211 ballots were cast for an overall voter turnout of 21.85 percent. The numbers do not include a final count of mail ballots or provisional ballots.
Unofficially, Belleair Bluffs voters elected to keep its incumbents on the city commission. With votes from the city’s only precinct tallied before 7:30 p.m., Suzy Sofer was out on top with 267, or 39 percent, of the 680 votes cast. Incumbent Jack Nazario had the second highest number, 232 votes. Challenger George Lawton picked up 181 votes.
Belleair Bluffs had 1,664 voters registered to participate in the March 12 election. As of March 11, 317 voters had returned mail ballots. Voter turnout is estimated at nearly 41 percent with about 19 percent by mail ballot.
The city of Gulfport has a new mayor. With all seven precincts reporting, Sam Henderson had received more than 64 percent – 1,752 of 2,723 votes cast. Robert E. Worthington received 971 votes.
Mail ballots proved popular in Gulfport with 1,514 returned to an Elections Office by March 11.
With 8,674 eligible voters in the city, turnout for the mayor’s election is estimated at 31 percent with about 17 percent – more than half the total - by mail ballot.
Henderson will replace longtime Gulfport Mayor Mike Yakes, who retired after serving for 27 years.
Gulfport voters also said yes by nearly 67 percent to a charter amendment on filling of vacancies.
Kenneth City voters were asked to pick two out of four names, including one incumbent, to serve on the council. Wanda L. Dudley brought in the most votes, 328, or nearly 32 percent of the 1,032 votes cast. Joanne DeSimone came in second with 283 votes, 27.42 percent.
Troy Campbell, who currently serves as vice mayor, received 262 votes and Albert Leonce Carrier brought in 159. Incumbent Ron Sneed did not seek re-election.
Kenneth City had 2,843 registered voters eligible to take part in the March 2013 election. Voter turnout is estimated at 36 percent. As of March 11, 446 – about 16 percent - had returned a mail ballot.
Oldsmar voters were asked to pick one from a field of three for Seat 3 on the council. Gabby McGee won the clear majority with 60 percent of 1,678 votes cast. Dan Saracki received the second highest vote count at 485 and Sunda Yantiss-Colon trailed with 185 votes.
McGee will take Doug Bevis’ job. Bevis ran unopposed for the office of mayor, after current Mayor Jim Ronecker decided not to run again.
Oldsmar had 9,256 residents eligible to vote March 12. Unofficial voter turnout is estimated at 18 percent with 12.8 percent voting by mail ballot.
With all 17 precincts reporting in by 7:25 p.m., Seminole voters clearly favored keeping the incumbents on city council. Voters were asked to pick two from a list of four, including incumbent Thomas M. Barnhorn, who received just over 39 percent of 3,751 votes cast. Incumbent James Quinn garnered nearly 37 percent. Challenger Matt Nilssen received just over 16 percent and Thomas J. Christy Sr. trailed the pack with only 7 percent.
Seminole had 12,304 registered voters who could have taken part in the election. Unofficial voter turnout stands at just over 30 percent with about 15 percent, as of March 11, coming from mail ballots.
South Pasadena seems to have a new mayor. Unofficial results show Dan Calabria well ahead of incumbent Larry Crowley for the job of mayor. Calabria received 67 percent of 1,164 votes cast to Crowley’s 33 percent.
South Pasadena had 3,534 residents eligible to take part in the election. Unofficial voter turnout is estimated at 33 percent with 28 percent from mail ballots. South Pasadena led in the number of mail ballots returned as of March 11 with nearly 50 percent of the number requested.
Tarpon Springs picked David Banther to replace Commissioner Chris Alahouzos. Banther received nearly 41 percent of 3,000 votes cast. Timothy Keffalas came in second with 28 percent, followed by Jim Bouldin with 15.5 percent and Tommy Frain with 15.37 percent.
Tarpon Springs had an eligible voter pool of 16,914. Unofficial voter turnout is estimated at almost 18 percent with approximately 13 percent by mail ballot as of March 11.
Voters in Treasure Island were asked to answer yes or no to five referendum questions. With four of four precincts reporting before 7:30 p.m., all but one question was close to a tie.
Voters gave an easy nod with more than 75 percent of 1,522 ballots cast saying yes to 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 involved changes to allow for more flexibility for the downtown redevelopment district.
Of the 1,521 yes or no answers to the question about allowing an increase in density to 24 residential dwelling units per acre as part of a mixed-use development project, 53 percent said yes and 47 percent said no.
It was a 50-50 tie between yes and no from 1,524 votes on the question to allow a density increase to 60 tourist units per acre in the downtown redevelopment area. Whitlock said state statute requires that a recount take place due to the tie vote. The Canvassing Board will meet at 9 a.m. Friday, March 15, to do a machine recount and a manual recount, if required.
State statute mandates an automatic machine recount if the margin in unofficial results is .5 percent or less. An automatic manual recount is required is the machine recount results in a margin of .25 or less.
Another split vote of 53 percent saying yes to 47 percent saying no resulted from 1,522 ballots cast on a density increase of up to 15 residential units per acre.
The final question, also asking for approval of a density increase to 60 tourists units per acre resulted in another near tie with 49.54 percent of 1,524 votes cast saying yes and 50.46 voting against the increase.
Treasure Island had 5,367 registered voters eligible to take part in the election. Unofficial voter turnout is estimated at 28 percent with nearly 21 percent coming from mail ballots.
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.
The Canvassing Board will count eligible provisional ballots, certify unofficial results and official results as well as conduct a post-election test of the voting tabulation equipment.