Boxes of ballots are ready for mailing July 10. More than 226,000 were mailed from the Pinellas County Elections Office.
CLEARWATER – Pinellas County’s registered voters can start exercising their 15th Amendment rights this week.
Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark sent out 2,214 mail ballots for the Aug. 14 primary election to absent military and overseas voters June 29. She began sending another 225,000 to local voters who had requested them July 10. State law requires domestic ballots to be mailed between 35 and 28 days prior to an election.
What’s on the ballot?
Florida is a closed primary state, which means only voters registered with a political party are eligible to vote in that party’s primary. In other words, only registered Republicans can vote for Republican primary candidates and only Democrats can vote for Democratic candidates. Voters have until July 16 to register to vote or to change their political parties for the Aug. 14 primary.
All registered voters can participate in the non-partisan elections, which include judicial and school board races.
Registered Republicans will vote for one from a field of six to participate in the November election for the office of U.S. Senator. The choices include George LeMieux, Mike McCalister, Connie Mack, Deon Long, Marielena Stuart and Dave Weldon.
Note: LeMieux withdrew from the race, and Long was disqualified. Votes for either candidate will not count.
Republicans will choose between Darren Ayres, Madeline Vance and incumbent C.W. Bill Young in the race for District 13 Congressional Representative. District 14 voters will pick between Eddie Adams Jr. and Evelio “EJ” Otero.
In the race for State Senator to represent District 20, voters can choose between Jack Latvala and Zahid Roy, and for District 22, Jeff Brandes and James C. “Jim” Frishe.
For State Representative, District 65, the choice is between Marg Baker, Peter Nehr, Tory Perfetti and Philip Tropea. For District 67, Republicans will choose between Ed Hooper and Christopher Shepard; for District 68, Frank Farkas and Daryle L. Hamel; and for District 69, Jim Dobyns, Kathleen Peters and David Phillips.
In one of the most contested local races, Republicans will pick their candidate to run in the November primary for the office of Sheriff. Two names are on the ballot, the incumbent, Bob Gualtieri, and a former Pinellas County Sheriff, Everett Rice.
Republicans also will vote for several party offices. Tony DiMatteo, Christopher G. Karmpert and Dan Tucker are running for State Committeeman, and Narda Enander and Nancy J. Riley for State Committeewoman.
Several positions by precinct are on the ballot. Voters will choose between Marilyn J. Cisek and Katherine Dorothy Freeman for Committeewoman Precinct 110; Tony DiMatteo, Fenton Gentry and Gideon Hecht for Committeeman Precinct 316; and Melody L. Brown, Chely Hernandez-Miller and Janice B. Hill for Committeewoman Precinct 416.
Registered Democrats will vote for one of two to be their candidate in the November election for the office of U.S. Senator. Incumbent Bill Nelson is challenged by Glenn A. Burkett.
Two names are on the ballot for U.S. Representative District 13; however, the state Division of Elections has announced that Nina Hayden has been disqualified, making Jessica Ehrlich the unopposed winner of that race and the Democratic nominee. In District 66, the choice is either Mary Louise Ambrose or Joanne “Cookie” Kennedy.
A second hotly contested local race is for the Democratic candidate for Pinellas County Commissioner District 7. Incumbent Ken Welch is challenged by Maria L. Scruggs.
The Democrats also have party offices up for grabs at the precinct level. Shannon L. Love and Susan McGrath are vying for the position of Precinct 127 Committeewoman; Sharon A. Delaney and Sharon Janis for Precinct 225 Committeewoman; George R. Guthrie and Lodewijk Vandenberg for Precinct 266 Committeeman; and Lois H. Fries and Nancy R. Hoppe for Precinct 323 Committeewoman.
All registered voters, regardless of party, can vote in nonpartisan races.
Voters can pick between Bill Burgess and Andy Steingold for Judge of the Sixth Circuit Group 15, Brian Battaglia and Kimberly “Kim” Campbell for Group 31, and Jack Day and Agnes Theresa McCabe for Group 45.
In the race for County Judge Group 2, the choice is between Scott Andringa and Cathy Ann McKyton.
All voters can participate in Pinellas County School Board election.
For the District 1 – at large position, candidates are Janet R. Clark, Jim Jackson, Shelly Ladd-Gilbert and Elliott Stern. Running in the single member race for District 7’s representative are Keisha Bell, Rene Flowers, Glenton “Glen” Gilzean, Corey Givens Jr. and Cassandra Jackson.
Mail ballots and other information
Pinellas County residents can request a mail ballot by visiting www.votepinellas.com or call 464-VOTE (8683). Mail ballots can be requested through 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8, after which time voters can pick them up at any Elections Office. Mail ballots must be received back at an Elections Office by 7 p.m. Aug. 14 to be counted. Ballots also may be left at drop-off locations throughout the county. A list is included with the ballot received in the mail.
Early voting is scheduled between Aug. 4 and Aug. 11 at any of three Elections Offices. Hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Polls are open Election Day, Aug. 14, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Revised to update information for the U.S. Representative District 13 race.