ST. PETERSBURG — For those eager to cast a vote for mayor, City Council or the hotly debated referendum on the fate of the Lens, the replacement for the iconic Pier, early voting ballots for the upcoming election will soon be available.
Starting July 12, voters can pick up ballots for the Aug. 27 nonpartisan primary, according to Nancy Whitlock, spokeswoman for the Pinellas County elections supervisor.
This closely watched election will decide whether the city moves forward with the Lens, as well as which mayor and City Council candidates for Districts 4, 6 and 8 will move on to the November general election.
Residents still have time to request mail ballots and to register to vote.
"If you want your voice to be heard, you need to vote," said City Clerk Eva Andujar.
The candidates for mayor are incumbent Bill Foster, former council member and former state lawmaker Rick Kriseman, lawyer and former council member Kathleen Ford, homeless advocate Paul Congemi and salesman Anthony Cates.
Voters have until Aug. 21 to make an online request to have a ballot sent to them by mail. The supervisor of elections office will start mailing ballots July 12 for military or overseas absentee voters and July 23 for absentee voters in the United States.
To pick up a ballot in person, voters can visit one of the elections supervisor's three offices, in Clearwater, Largo or St. Petersburg. The St. Petersburg office is at 501 First Ave. N.
Ballots — whether sent by mail or dropped off at an election supervisor office — must be received by 7 p.m. Aug. 27.
"If there's any doubt that it might not arrive here by 7 p.m., we recommend that they drop it off," Whitlock said.
The last day to register to vote in the August election is July 29.
To register, bring a completed application, which can be found online, to an elections supervisor's office, tax collector's office or library.
Whitlock noted that these dates for ballots to be sent out are tentative, though she does not anticipate any changes.
Lauren Carroll can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8913. Follow her on Twitter @LaurenFCarroll.