By B.C. Manion
It’s a mid-term election, but voters have a lot riding on the outcomes of votes tallied in Election 2010.
Voters will decide who will be Florida’s governor and its next attorney general. They will choose who goes to Washington to fill a Florida seat in the U.S. Senate.
Other big ballot issues include proposed constitutional amendments that:
-Will determine whether legislative and congressional districts are prevented from being drawn to favor or disfavor an incumbent or political party
-Determine whether class size limits for public schools should change
-Decide whether voters must approve future changes to a local government’s comprehensive land use plan.
In Hillsborough County, voters also will decide the fate of a 1-cent sales tax proposed to pay for light rail, expanded bus service and road improvements.
Many Hillsborough and Pasco voters also will cast their ballots in the District 12 State Senate race.
Jim Norman won the Republican primary for the seat, defeating Kevin Ambler. But the race has been thrown into turmoil, after Ambler sued to challenge the primary results.
A Tallahassee judge disqualified Norman in an Oct. 15 ruling, stating Norman had failed to disclose a $500,000 gift on his disclosure form.
Ralph Hughes, a political activist and Norman supporter, gave the money to Norman’s wife, Mearline, who used it to purchase a house in Arkansas.
Ambler sued to have Norman disqualified. He also sought to his name placed on the ballot, but the judge refused.
On Saturday, the Republican Party tapped former state Rep. Rob Wallace to run for the seat. Wallace is an environmental engineer who, while in the House, once cast the lone vote against the state budget out of concerns for government overspending.
While the ballots show Norman’s name, a vote for Norman will be counted for Wallace — though Norman and Ambler both had pending appeals, meaning things could change between now and Election Day.
Beyond the confusion in this race, there are many other congressional, legislative, county commission, school board and other seats up for grabs during this election.
Early voting continues until Oct. 30. Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 2.
When the ballots are counted, it should signal the end of a barrage of negative campaigning that has characterized this political season. For more election information or to view sample ballots or for additional information go to www.pascovotes.com or www.votehillsborough.org.
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