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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Pinellas: Turnout at 15 percent




Polling station deputy Renee Graham, 25, of St. Petersburg, greets Ryan Palmer, 2, whose parents Paul, 37, and Jennifer Palmer, 31, voted at King of Peace Metropolitan Community Church. [Lara Cerri | Times]

1 p.m. Tuesday

As of this morning, turnout in Pinellas County is at 15.3 percent when today's voters are included with early voters and those who turned in absentee ballots, according to supervisor of elections spokeswoman Nancy Whitlock.

More than half of those voting in the presidential preference primary -- 8.3 percent -- voted this morning. Another 7 percent participated in early voting or turned in absentee ballots.

A new update will be available after 2 p.m.

10 a.m. Tuesday

There was a steady flow of voters this morning at Westminster Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg.

Luanne Rechtshaid, 39, said she had a big decision to make over which presidential candidate to support, but admitted she's still not "100 percent confident" in her vote for Barack Obama.

Her yes vote for Amendment 1 was an easier call. She recently moved here from California and was shocked by her property tax bill. "It's sticker shock," she said. "We were paying about $2,000 in taxes in California and here we're going to end up paying about $10,000."

"It just seems crazy."

At St. Raphael's Catholic Church on Snell Isle, there was a big rush when the polls opened at 7 a.m. but the pace seems to have slowed.

Election_daytarpon_springs Like Rechtshaid, Chris Click, 36, also admitted a bit of angst over his presidential pick. The self-employed Republican voted for Mitt Romney, but admitted he was kind of on the fence. "At the end of the day, we definitely need a change."

He thinks the presidential race will be a close one between Republicans and Democrats and wants to see what the Democrats have to say before he makes up his mind. "I just want the right person to get in there and get things done."

Click also said he supports the portability amendment even though he has no plans to move. He thinks the presidential race will be a close run and wants to see what the Democrats have to say before he makes up his mind.

At the Willis S. Johns Recreation Center in St. Petersburg, Pat Coppola, 87, said he came out to support Hillary Clinton.

"I like her. I think she has better ideas than Obama," he said. He said he initially supported Obama but didn't like some of his recent views and comments he's been making.

"I don't think he likes a woman in the White House," he said.

For Robert Stellges, 77, a retired plumber, the portability amendment drew him to the polls. He sees the pros and cons of it, but decided the positives outweighed the negatives.

"I decided to go for it -- a little bit of savings is better than nothing."

--Melanie Ave, Times staff writer

Photo above: The moon still above them, 11 voters were waiting in line at 1st Baptist Church in Tarpon Springs as Precinct 705 opened at 7 a.m. Click to enlarge. [Jim Damaske | Times]

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 2:20pm]


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