CLEARWATER-Nearly 30 percent of mail-in ballots have been returned for the Nov. 5 referendum on whether the city can negotiate with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for a new $160.5 million downtown aquarium.
The turnout has already bested the total turnout for the March 2010 election which had two contested city council seats and a charter amendment on the ballot.
As of Friday, 8,312 ballots had been returned out of 28,033 mailed out to voters, according to the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections.
Clearwater has 67,653 registered voters. Both aquarium supporters and opponents have aggressively courted voters who requested ballots through the mail with fliers.
Pro-Aquarium forces have sent three mailers. Opponents have mailed one so far.