LARGO – Pinellas County’s registered voters might want to get started on their homework.
Although the general election is still more than a month away, Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections is preparing to send out approximately 2,700 mail ballots Sept. 21 to military and overseas voters. The tentative date to begin mailing an additional 244,000 to residents living in the United States is Oct. 2.
The deadline to register to participate in the Nov. 6 election is Oct. 9. County residents can register at any public library, tax collector’s office of elections office or online at votepinellas.com.
The 2012 ballot is longer than usual, consisting of four pages, so voters will make their choices on two cards. According to the answers to frequently asked questions posted at votepinellas.com, the reason the ballot is so long, it not only contains candidate races, it also contains 11 state Constitutional Amendments and a countywide school board referendum.
Candidate races include president and vice president of the United States, U.S. senator, U.S. representative, state senator, state representative, county Sheriff, supervisor of elections, commissioners, justice of the supreme court, district court of appeals judge, school board and special district elections.
Municipal elections are set in Belleair Bluffs, Clearwater, Dunedin, Largo, Redington Shores, Safety Harbor and St. Pete Beach.
The Elections Office offers some tips to prepare for the general election. One tip is to request a mail ballot.
“Vote in the comfort of your home and have more time to study the candidates and amendments before marking you ballots,” staff advises on the Elections website.
Another tip is to attend a candidate forum. A list of forums is available at votepinellas.com. Research the state amendments by searching the internet for information about pros and cons, get in touch with the political parties, legislative representatives and the candidates to get the information needed.
Clark assures voters that despite having two cards, the elections process will be the same, although postage is higher – 65 cents – for those choosing to send their ballot back through the mail. However, 14 ballot drop-off locations will be available to return ballots free.
At the polls, voters will need to insert both ballot cards through the scanner. Votes will be counted the same as a one-card election.