The Daystarter: Election Day is finally here; get everything you need to know about all the national, state and local races; and why can’t the Bucs tackle?

Check for the latest breaking news and developments.
Check for the latest breaking news and developments.
Published November 6 2018
Updated November 6 2018

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.

• We’ll have partly cloudy skies with scattered showers and isolated storms to our north, and mainly warm and muggy weather from Tampa Bay southward, according to the National Weather Service. High temperatures today will range from the lower to upper 80s.

• Check out our Weekend Rewind for stories you may have missed.

• Expect partly cloudy skies today with high temperatures in the mid 80s, according to the National Weather Service. Rain chances are low. The next cold front could move in Friday night, knocking temperatures down about five degrees.

• After you’ve voted, here are the top things to do today in Tampa Bay including a famous artist’s "Infinity Rooms" on display in Tampa and a pack of noise metal bands in Ybor City.

• It’s Election Day, so to keep up with the latest news throughout the day and the first results this evening, monitor our live blog on and our team of reporters and photographers on Twitter @TB_Times. We’re not going anywhere until this thing is finally done.

• Florida’s historic nail-biter of an election concludes today, which is not so much Election Day as it is the finale of Election Month. More than 5 million Floridians already have voted, a record for early ballots that probably means more than seven in every 10 of all likely votes were already cast. Registered Democrats have cast slightly more votes than Republicans so far, but Republicans in recent elections have cast more votes on Election Day. Florida’s marquee gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races, which appear to be neck-and-neck, could go either way depending on who turns out to vote today and whether independent voters not registered to either major party break their way. Read more from Adam C. Smith and Steve Contorno.

• Just catching up on this Florida election? Not sure where to start? We have the answer. We’ve written quick takes on every statewide race and every race in the Tampa Bay area. We’ll tell you who’s running, what’s a stake and give you a few key stories to read. Catch up on whatever you’re missing out on!

• It’s Election Day. Find out everything you wanted to know about all the local, state and federal candidates, where they stand on issues such as gun rights, opioids and education using the Tampa Bay Times handy-dandy Know Your Candidate voter guide. Today is the last day to use it.

• Columnist John Romano weighs in this morning on the story affected by today’s gubernatorial election. How "whoever wins today’s gubernatorial election gets to name three new justices to the court next year." And how "the Judicial Nominating Commission has decided to plow right ahead with the process."

• Worried about the status of your mail ballot? Zachary T. Sampson reports that voters can go to their local supervisor of elections’ website, plug in their names and search to see if their ballot has been received. If it has, and there’s some kind of issue with your signature, the website will say that. These and all your mail ballot questions are answered and today’s the last day to do something about it.

• Election Day may finally be here but in the world of politics it’s never too early to second-guess everything and everyone. Adam C. Smith’s latest Florida insiders poll has the state’s political establishment dishing on the best and worst campaigns and who they think will win — too bad they’re often wrong.

• What is going on in the race for Florida’s 15th Congressional District in eastern Hillsborough, Polk and Lake counties? Republican Ross Spano waited 3½-months to file a personal financial disclosure form required of all congressional candidates and William March reports that it reveals that loans from friends appear to be the source of $100,000 that he later loaned to his own campaign for U.S. Congress. Under campaign contribution limits, that could be problematic for Spano.

• By Sunday afternoon, 4.8 million Floridians had voted early, a number more than 50 percent higher than the early vote total in the last midterm election in 2014. And it’s almost 80 percent of the entire vote count in 2014. Days before the second anniversary of the election of President Donald Trump, Democrats say they have a chance to change the country this time around. Republicans warn of the same. Both parties used that rhetoric over the weekend in efforts to squeeze the last drops of energy out of their bases, Langston Taylor and Emily L. Mahoney report.

• Welcome to the era of the voting selfie Christopher Spata explains how democracy and social media came together make the "I Voted" stick so cool.

• The Tampa Bay Times has teamed up with ProPublica to track anything that goes wrong at the polls this year: Voting abnormalities? Election misinformation? Unusually long lines? Malfunctioning voting machines? Robocalls? Social media rumors? Here’s how to reach out to us:

Text message: Send the word VOTE or VOTA (for Spanish) to 81380 (standard text message rates apply).

WhatsApp: Send the word VOTE or VOTA (for Spanish) to 1-850-909-8683.

Facebook Messenger: Go to

Twitter: Tag @Electionland.

• Ever heard of ballot fatigue? It’s a real phenomenon and it could be in play this election season. Add all the races and the 12 constitutional amendments together and that’s a long ballot. It’s even worse in Hillsborough County, where the transportation and school tax sit at the end of a four-page ballot. Christopher O’Donnell explains why voters face such long ballots and the best strategies for getting voters to fill it out to the very end.

• Confused about the Florida ballot? You’re not alone. Kirby Wilson writes about the three things all voters need to know about voting in Florida this year.

• The Times editorial board has interviewed just about every candidate on the ballot today and their recommendations are just one click away.

• For the latest in Florida politics, make sure to check The Buzz.

• For the latest in Tampa Bay politics, make sure to check The Bay Buzz.

• For the latest education coverage, make sure to check The Gradebook.

• A deputy accidentally shot and wounded a woman during a confrontation with her flare gun-wielding boyfriend on Monday, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Get the details here.

• There’s no lack of glaring issues that have left the Bucs 3-5, at the bottom of the NFC South and a longshot to make the playoffs once again. But after Sunday’s 42-28 loss to the Panthers, here’s a particularly egregious problem: tackling, or the lack thereof. Rick Stroud explains how Tampa Bay is on pace to set an NFL record by allowing 550 points this season.

• In his latest AfterMath column, Thomas Bassinger breaks down a particularly baffling call the Bucs made during the Panthers game: Calling for a fake punt, on fourth-and-9, at the their own 26-yard line, training 28-7 in the second quarter.

• The latest Bucs news is just a few clicks away. Check out the Tampa Bay Times coverage all season long. And on @Twitter follow Rick Stroud at @NFLSTROUD and Eduardo A. Encina at @EddieInTheYard for the latest updates.

• The Tampa Bay Times can keep you up-to-date on the Lightning’s quest for the Stanley Cup, just click here throughout the season. And for the latest updates on @Twitter, follow Diana C. Nearhos at @dianacnearhos and Nick Kelly at @_NickKelly.

• Are you ready for Ribfest this weekend? Before the smoke starts rising we have everything you need to know about Ribfest this year from the music lineup to what’s new in food offerings and even a special $5 admission day.

• For more music news, including this year’s Clearwater Sea-Blues lineup, check out our Soundcheck music blog

• From our food editor, These recipes will score at your football tailgate table