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Just do it: Cast your ballot today

The forecast for today calls for beautiful, springlike weather.

There goes one excuse.

You may have to work today, but unless your shift lasts 12 hours, sometime between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. you'll have a few minutes of spare time.

There goes another excuse.

Bad weather and having to work are two of the excuses people use for not voting. But neither excuse will hold true for the vast majority of registered voters in several Pinellas cities today.

So why not just do it?

A number of cities in mid- and North Pinellas are having elections today. In case you've missed all the Times' coverage of the campaigns, here's a brief summary:

Safety Harbor: The usual controversy and intrigue have accompanied this year's campaign for three seats on the City Commission. Jill Cincotta and Don Fletcher are running for Seat 1, Pam Corbino and Paul Marron for Seat 2, and Fran Barnhisel, Sandy Huff and Bill Rupp for Seat 3.

Oldsmar: Only one seat is being filled on City Council. Former Mayor Tom Pinta and newcomer Richard Schauseil are running for it.

Largo: One seat on the City Commission will be filled. Incumbent Jean Halvorsen is challenged by Kim Deguise.

Indian Rocks Beach: Mayor Jim Driscoll is leaving office. Bob DiNicola and Jim Palamara are running to replace him. Two seats on the City Commission also will be filled. Three candidates are running for the two seats: Marilyn Morris, Larry Sandefer and Jean Scott.

Indian Shores: Four candidates are vying for two seats on the Town Council: Jane Hawk, Janet Hoppe, Ken Johnston and Jewell Vincent.

As local election seasons go, this has been a fairly quiet year. That doesn't mean these elections are not important. Note that in two of the cities _ Safety Harbor and Indian Rocks Beach _ new majorities will be seated on the city commissions. The entire tone of city government can be changed by such pivotal elections. Clearwater is the best current example of how a new majority can lead to a shift in direction.

Neither is your vote unimportant because the campaign has been quiet or because just one or two contests are on the ballot. The best illustration of the importance of your one vote remains the 1989 mayor's race in Belleair Beach. That contest between John Blank and William Atteberry ended in a tie vote. The tie was resolved by writing the candidates' names on slips of paper and drawing one from a coffee cup. Blank won.

Voting is exceptionally easy in Pinellas County. The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., so nearly everyone can make it. Polling places are well-staffed and seldom crowded. Voting usually takes no more than five minutes.

If your city is having an election today, please be there.

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