Early numbers reveal voters are engaged for midterms

Early numbers reveal that Pasco County voters are enthusiastic about midterm elections, said Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley.

“Voters are definitely more engaged this time, for a midterm, than we’ve seen in some time,” he said.

“As we approach the general (election), it’s a very, very long ballot, with a lot of amendments on it, but so far, I’ve got to tell you, the turnout has been phenomenal,” Corley said in an Oct. 29 interview.

While Election Day is Nov. 6, many voters are choosing to vote early, he said.

Pasco has already surpassed the total Vote By Mail ballots cast in the 2014 general, which was slightly more than 46,000, and it is already over 52,480. “We’re not done, obviously. So, that’s going to be up substantially,” he said.

Corley also noted that early voting has been expanded in Pasco County because there was an obvious need.

“With early voting, we’re right now, as I’m talking to you, at a little more than 26,000 and the total early votes cast in the 2014 general was 32,000,” he said.

Corley also offered assurances that there are plans in place to address any security issues — cyber or physical — that could arise.

“We have worked very closely with Sheriff (Chris) Nocco and his people, along with the county’s emergency management folks,” he said.

As voters head to the polls, Corley advised: “Be voter ready. Make sure your address is up to date. Study the amendments ahead of time, so you’ll know ahead of time, yes or no.”

Whatever method voters choose — whether voting early or on Election Day, they have plenty of decisions to make.

They’ll be deciding on races and issues, ranging from who will be Florida’s representatives in Congress, to who will occupy the state’s governor’s mansion, to who will make local decisions affecting everything from job creation, to road congestion, to the quality of local schools.

Pasco and Hillsborough voters also will decide the outcome of 12 constitutional amendments or revisions.

In Pasco, voters also will decide the fate of four general obligation issues to pay for a jail expansion, additional fire protection, enhanced libraries and enhanced parks. The bonds would be repaid through increased property taxes.

In Hillsborough, voters will decide the fate of a referendum to raise the local sales tax to support transportation improvements; and, another referendum to raise the local sales tax to support air conditioning and other capital improvements in public schools.

Here’s a recap of key races on the 2018 ballot within The Laker/Lutz News coverage area; a listing of local early polling places; and a reminder of what voters should bring with them to the polls.

Key races
Federal
U.S. Senate: Rick Scott vs. Bill Nelson

U.S. Rep. District 12: Gus Bilirakis vs. Chris Hunter

State
Governor: Ron DeSantis vs. Andrew Gillum

Attorney General: Ashley Moody vs. Sean Shaw

Chief Financial Officer: Jimmy Petronis vs. Jeremy Ring

Commissioner of Agriculture: Matt Caldwell vs. Nicole ‘Nikki’ Fried

State Senate District 20: Kathy Lewis vs. Tom Lee

State Senate District 10: Michael Cottrell vs. Wilton Simpson

State Representative District 37: Tammy Garcia vs. Ardian Zika

State Representative District 38: Danny Burgess vs. David “TK” Hayes

State Representative, District 64: James Grant vs. Jessica Harrington

Local
Pasco
Pasco County Commission

District 2: Mike Moore vs. Kelly Smith

District 4: Mike Wells vs. Brandi Geoit

Pasco School Board

District 5: Megan Harding vs. Tara M. O’Connor

Hillsborough
Hillsborough County Commission

District 5: Victor Crist vs. Mariella Smith

District 7: Todd Marks vs. Kimberly Overman

Hillsborough School Board
District 1

William Henry Person vs. Steve Cona

District 6

Karen Perez vs. Henry “Shake” Washington

Sheriff: Chad Chronister vs. Gary Pruitt

Early Voting Places (located within The Laker/Lutz News coverage area)

Pasco County: Through Nov. 3, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • East Pasco Government Center, Lobby, 14326 Sixth St., Dade City
  • Alice Hall Community Center, 36116 Fifth Ave., Zephyrhills
  • New River Branch Library, 34043 State Road 54, Wesley Chapel
  • Florida Hospital Center Ice, 3173 Cypress Ridge Blvd., Wesley Chapel
  • Land O’ Lakes Branch Library, 2818 Collier Parkway, Land O’ Lakes
  • Utilities Administration Building, 19420 Central Blvd., Land O’ Lakes

Hillsborough County: Through Nov. 4,  7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  • Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library, 2902 W. Bearss Ave., Tampa
  • Keystone Recreation Center, 17928 Gunn Highway, Odessa
  • New Tampa Regional Library, 10001 Cross Creek Blvd., Tampa

What Voters Should Bring
Florida law requires voters to present both signature and photo identification. This can be achieved with one form of identification, such as a Florida driver license or U.S. Passport, or two separate forms of identification, such as a membership card with your photo and second form of identification with your signature. If you don’t bring your ID, you may vote a provisional ballot.

For more information, visit PascoVotes.com and VoteHillsborough.org.

Published October 31, 2018

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