All registered voters in Pasco and Hillsborough counties are eligible to select school board members, decide the fate of proposals for higher property taxes, and choose judges, too, during the Aug. 23 Primary Election.
The Pasco County School Board’s ballot initiative ask voters for a yes or no on the question of levying an additional tax, not to exceed 1 mil, beginning July 1, 2023 and ending no later than June 30, 2027.
The proceeds, according to the ballot question, will be used “for essential operating expenses to maintain salaries competitive with the market, attract and retain high-quality teachers, bus drivers and other non-administrative school support employees.”
The Hillsborough County School Board also is asking local voters for more support. The proposed 1-mil tax increase would last for four years, unless extended by voters, according to the district’s website.
At least 75% of the proceeds would go for increased compensation for teachers, counselors, media specialists, bus drivers and transportation assistants, classroom assistants, and other non-instructional support staff.
Other tax proceeds would be used to protect and expand art, music, physical education and workforce education.
Regardless of Primary Election results, changes are coming to leadership on boards in both counties.
Allen Altman, a longtime member of the Pasco County School Board, decided not to seek another term.
Candidates Al Hernandez, Stephen A. Meisman and James M. Washington are vying to fill Altman’s District 1 seat. One of those candidates must attain 50% plus one vote, or the race will be decided in a run-off in the General Election on Nov. 8.
Two Pasco School Board incumbents face opponents.
In District 3, incumbent Cynthia Armstrong is squaring off against challenger Matthew Geiger.
In District 5, incumbent Megan Harding faces Charles Philip Touseull.
The Pasco County Commission will have at least one new board member, as Mike Moore steps away after two terms.
On the Republican primary ballot, candidates Troy F. Stevenson, Seth Weightman and Christie Zimmer are vying to fill Moore’s District 2 seat.
Also, on the primary ballot, incumbent Republican Christina Fitzpatrick faces challengers Gary Bradford and Shannon Wittwer for the District 4 seat.
Changes could be coming to Hillsborough County’s leadership, too.
Three school board seats are being contested. Plus, six of the seven county board seats are up for grabs during the 2022 election cycle.
In Hillsborough’s school board race for District 2, Demaris Allen is challenging incumbent Stacy Hahn.
In District 4, Hunter Gambrell, Patricia “Patti” Rendon and Danielle Smaller each are vying to join the board.
And, in District 6, incumbent Karen Perez is facing challengers Roshaun Gendrett and Alysha “Aly Marie” Legge.
In races for the Hillsborough County Commission, Gwen Myers was unopposed and has won reelection to her District 3 seat.
In District 4, Noelle Licor is facing Michael Joseph Owen. Since they are the only two candidates for this race, the seat will be elected during the primary and all registered voters are eligible to weigh in.
In District 7, Republicans Chase Harrison and Joshua Wostal are squaring off to be their party’s representative in the General Election, where the winner will face Democrat incumbent Kimberly Overman.
Across Florida, Democrats will be choosing who they want to represent the party in the statewide elections in November, for governor, attorney general and agricultural commission.
Congressional and state house seats are on the Primary Election ballot, too.
Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley said turnout for primary elections in Pasco tends to be about 50% of registered voters.
“Any pocketbook issues generally increase turnout,” Corley added, noting he’s projecting a turnout in this primary at somewhere between 55% and 60%.
Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer said he doesn’t make projections about turnout. Historically, about 25% of Hillsborough voters participate in primary elections, Latimer said.
“Primaries are kind of low turnout. I don’t understand why,” Latimer said, noting that primary voters will determine the outcome of six ballot issues in Hillsborough this year.
Both supervisors of election are confident that measures are in place to guarantee a safe and secure election. They also point to audits that are done to ensure the accuracy of the vote count.
The election supervisors advise voters who plan to vote on Primary Election Day to be sure they’ve checked their voter card to know where they need to vote. Some changes have been made since the last election
“If you vote on Election Day, you have to go to the polling site in your precinct. You can’t just go anywhere. Sometimes, people sometimes don’t understand that,” Latimer said.
Both supervisors of elections said historically about one-third of voters cast their ballots on Election Day, with about one-third voting by mail and the other third voting early.
However, they both said, in 2020 because of the pandemic, a greater percentage of people voted by mail. In Pasco, that figure stood at about 45% and in Hillsborough, around 47%.
Corley said he’s not sure what will happen in this election.
Latrimer thinks more people will come to the polls than in 2020 because people are feeling a bit safer about going out.
Early voting in Pasco County began on Aug. 13 and concludes on Aug. 20. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Early voting in Hillsborough County began on Aug. 8 and ends on Aug. 21. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For specific locations and other voting information, check www.Pascovotes.gov in Pasco and https://www.VoteHillsborough.gov, in Hillsborough.
Pasco County School Board, nonpartisan, all voters
Stephen A. Meisman
James M. Washington
Megan C. Harding
Charles Philip Touseull
Pasco County Commission, Republican voters
Troy F. Stevenson
Christina Fitzpatrick, incumbent
Gary H. Bradford
Shannon J. Wittwer
Hillsborough County School Board, nonpartisan, all voters
Patricia “Patti” Rendon
Alysha “Aly Marie” Legge
Hillsborough County Commission
District 4 (Universal primary, all voters)
Michael Joseph Owen
District 7, Republican voters
Published August 17, 2022
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