By Coastal Breeze News Staff
Unless you’ve been in a cave for many months you are probably aware that there is a primary election coming on August 14th. It’s expected that many or most ballots will be absentee. Collier County’s Supervisor of Elections, Jennifer Edwards, does a remarkable job of disseminating information and running a superb operation.
There are a variety of state and local contests as well as other issues. There has been a lot of campaigning already, and there also appears to be some questions about procedures and candidates. Here are a few answers to commonly asked questions:
1. Can all registered voters, whether Republicans, Democrats or NPA’s (No Party Affiliation) vote in the primary election?
ANSWER: Yes! Florida is a “Closed Primary” state, meaning that only Republicans or Democrats may vote for their respective party’s candidates in a primary election. Your ballot will contain candidates running in the primary to face a candidate for Senate, House of Representatives and other offices in which candidates have party affiliations from another party or an NPA (IND) in the general election in November. However, there are also non-partisan candidates, such as judges, on all ballots. In addition, there is a referendum question on the ballot regarding a walk-in clinic. All Marco Island voters may vote on that referendum. An additional referendum applies only to Hideaway Beach, and voting is limited to Hideaway Beach voters.
2. Some of the candidates for office, such as Clerk of the Circuit Court, Property Appraiser and Tax Collector, have party designations on the ballot (“Universal Races”). Can a voter with a different party affiliation, or an Independent, vote for those candidates?
ANSWER: YES! All eligible registered voters may vote. If they appear on the ballot you receive, you may vote for them.
3. How do I know which candidates are incumbents?
ANSWER: Please read the mail and notices that are being circulated by the candidates. Street signs can state “Re-elect” for incumbents running again. We can tell you that Dwight Brock (Clerk of the Circuit Court); Abe Skinner (Property Appraiser); Larry Ray (Tax Collector); Eugene Turner (Judge); Mike Carr (Judge); Meg Steinbeck (Judge); Joseph A. Simpson (Judge); and George C. Richards (Judge) are incumbents.
4. Where can I get information about the referendum?
ANSWER: In this issue The Coastal Breeze is running an article at page A8 explaining the ballot question. Simplified, the question is whether you are willing to pay a subsidy through your property tax to maintain a 24-hour walk-in clinic (instead of a 12-hour clinic).
Your party affiliation and where you live in Collier County determine the contests in which you are eligible to participate