Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Saturday, August 9, 2014
Early voting starts Monday
11,000 absentee ballots already mailed

Early voting in Monroe County for the Aug. 26 primary opens at 8:30 a.m. Monday and runs daily through Aug. 23, the supervisor of elections office said.

Those 13 days of pre-primary voting opportunity have proved popular in the Florida Keys, in addition to voting by absentee ballot.

Early voting means showing up at one of five locations across Monroe, filling out a ballot and immediately slipping it into a machine, while voting by absentee ballot involves either requesting one through the mail or getting one at the supervisor of elections' counter.

The absentees are then processed and put into a file for image scanning later on. Absentees are counted before the polls close but voters have until 7 p.m on election day to turn them in.

A Sheriff's Office deputy is assigned to absentee-duty on election day, charged with starting in Key Largo and heading down to the Key West elections office after making a stop in Marathon to collect the absentees filed there.

At last count, Supervisor of Elections Joyce Griffin's office has mailed more than 11,000 absentee ballots for the 2014 primary -- some 4,900 Republican ballots and more than 3,955 ones for Democrats.

The primary could settle the marquee Key West contest for mayor, a nonpartisan election which has incumbent Craig Cates opposed by repeat candidates Margaret Romero and Sloan Bashinsky.

Cates, who has raised $55,000, has twice defeated Romero, who has collected more than $15,000, and has also bested Bashinsky, running on $1,750 of his own cash.

In order to win outright, one of the three must take 50 percent plus one vote Aug. 26. If not, the two top finishers will meet in a runoff in the Nov. 4 general election.

In contrast, the District 2 county commissioner's race is still in the ballot-setting stage.

Only Republicans can vote for county commissioner Aug. 26 because incumbent George Neugent drew a same-party opponent in Danny Coll.

Political newcomer Eleanor McAdams closed the primary to Democrats and Independents when she qualified for the office as the sole Democratic candidate. The latest campaign finance reports show she has raised $750.

Neugent has spent almost $11,000 so far, having raised more than $27,000, while Coll has sunk $8,764 into his bid and raised $18,375.

gfilosa@keysnews.com

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