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Friday, Sep 19, 2014

Pinellas County’s early birds can head to the polls today

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— Beginning today, Pinellas County voters may cast early ballots for the Aug. 26 elections at one of three locations.

Early voting, which runs through Aug. 24, has become popular for those who find it difficult to get to the polls on Election Day — or those worried they might forget about it.

The voting places are:

♦ The county 501 Building, 501 First Ave. N., St. Petersburg

♦ The Pinellas County Election Service Center, 13001 Starkey Road, Largo

♦ The Pinellas County Courthouse, 315 Court St., Room 117, Clearwater

Those who receive mail ballots also are welcome to drop them off at these locations as well as at public libraries, tax collector’s offices and some neighborhood centers.

Primary elections — especially in a non-presidential election year — tend to have low turnout, elections experts say, but this year’s ballot has some heavily watched races.

All Democrats, for example, may weigh in on the gubernatorial primary contest between former Gov. Charlie Crist and former state Sen. Nan Rich of Broward County. They also may vote in the attorney general’s race between George Sheldon and Perry Thurston to determine who will run against Republican incumbent Pam Bondi.

In the Clearwater area, state House District 67 has a three-way Democratic primary among Thomas Ryan, Steve Sarnoff and Shawna Vercher to determine who will run against the winner of the Republican primary, either Chris Latvala or Christopher Shepard.

Gov. Rick Scott will be on all Republican ballots in a race against two primary challengers, Yinka Adeshina and Elizabeth Cuevas-Neunder. Also on Republican ballots is the Pinellas County Commission race between incumbent Norm Roche and outgoing state Rep. Ed Hooper for the at-large District 2 seat.

The primary to replace outgoing north county District 4 County Commissioner Susan Latvala is packed with seven candidates. 

And in District 6, all voters there, regardless of party, may cast ballots in the race between Republicans John Morroni, the incumbent, and challenger Tom Rask because there is no challenger from another party and the winner will take the seat.

The district covers the southern Pinellas beaches, central and northeast St. Petersburg, Seminole, Pinellas Park and Feather Sound.

Four state House seats have a primary: Districts 64 (James Grant vs. Mariam Steinberg), 65 (Debbie Faulkner vs. Chris Sprowls), 67 (Latvala vs. Shepard) and 68 (Bill Young II vs. Joshua Black).

Veteran state Sen. Jack Latvala also faces a GOP primary challenge from Zahid Roy for the Clearwater-area District 20 seat.

Also on all ballots are five judicial races, two at-large school board seats and a referendum that would give tax breaks to new and expanding businesses.

Early voting today starts at 9 a.m. It is available from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekends and 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. weekdays. For voter information, contact the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Office at www.votepinellas.com or (727) 464-6788.

kbradshaw@tampatrib.com

(727) 215-7999

Twitter: @kbradshawTBO

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