ST. PETERSBURG — Candidates have been canvassing the city for months in preparation for today.
Residents will head to the polls from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today to make decisions in mayoral and council races, but also to decide whether the city should move forward with a $50 million replacement pier project known as the Lens — or kill it and start over.
Already 29,239 residents have voted by mail, more than any other city election before, according to the Pinellas County supervisor of elections.
Here's what you need to know before hitting the polls:
What's at stake?
Voters will select a mayoral candidate and decide the Lens referendum question. Residents in Districts 4, 6 and 8 will vote for City Council races. The top two vote-getters in each race will advance to the Nov. 5 general election. However, no mayoral runoff will occur if a candidate draws more than 50 percent of the vote.
What exactly is the referendum question?
Voters will approve or reject an ordinance that approved the contract with the Michael Maltzan Architecture to build the Lens. Because of the way the ordinance is worded, a yes vote means you want to cancel the contract and kill the Lens. A no vote means you want to keep the contract in place and build the Lens.
What type of identification do I need at the polls?
To avoid any delays, bring an ID with your photo and signature. Acceptable forms include a Florida driver's license, Florida identification card, U.S. passport, military or student ID or student, debit or credit card, retirement center ID, neighborhood association ID or public assistance ID.
If your identification card does not have a signature, another form of identification is required with a signature. Anyone without a valid and current identification can vote a provisional ballot. A provisional ballot is a conditional ballot that must be validated by a canvassing board.
Can I still vote if I never returned my mail ballot?
Yes. Mail ballots must be received by 7 p.m. today in any of the county's three election offices. The ballots will not be accepted at your polling location. If you prefer to vote at your precinct, take your mail ballot to that location. Poll workers will invalidate the ballot and give you another ballot to cast your vote.
If you cannot find your mail ballot, the poll worker will need to call the Elections Office to confirm that your mail ballot has not been received so you can vote a regular ballot.
If I am not already registered, can I register and vote today?
No. The deadline to register to vote was July 29. You can still register to vote in the Nov. 5 general election.
Contact Mark Puente at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8459. Follow on Twitter @ markpuente.