TAMPA — With primary elections coming up Tuesday, here are five things for Hillsborough County voters to know:
What's at stake?
Most of the attention in the governor's race has been on Rick Scott and Charlie Christ. But there actually are two other Republicans and one other Democrat on the primary ballot, with 18 candidates overall trying to be the next governor. There are many other races as well, some of which include Florida Legislature, Hillsborough County School Board, Hillsborough County Commission and state and county judgeships.
How can I vote?
The chance to vote early ended Sunday. On Tuesday, polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Your voter ID card will tell you the address of your precinct. Or you can find that and get a sample ballot customized to your address at votehillsborough.org.
I'm registered without a party affiliation. Why should I bother?
It's true that your choices are limited in this primary if you have a minor party or no-party affiliation registration. But there are several nonpartisan races in which any eligible voter in the county can cast ballots. These include countywide races for four circuit judgeships and one county court judgeship. They also include three races for School Board, although the district you live in will determine how many board races you will find on your ballot.
Do I need to take an umbrella to the polls?
It wouldn't hurt. The forecast from Bay News 9 on Tuesday calls for partly cloudy skies with only a 20 percent chance of an afternoon shower or storm throughout Hillsborough County. For now — this is August in Florida after all. Temperatures should top out around 92 degrees across Tampa Bay.
What happens next?
After voters winnow the number of candidates in the primary, winners advance to the general election Nov. 4. In addition, there are a few more races for Congress, state office and local seats in the general election for which there weren't enough candidates to call a primary. If you haven't registered to vote yet, the deadline for registering in time for the general election is Oct. 6.