For those who didn't already take advantage of the chance to vote early, Tuesday, Aug. 14, is the day to vote for candidates in a number of crucial elections.
Registered voters will be able to cast their ballots for the candidates in their own parties that they want to move onto the final election Nov. 6. In addition, there are several nonpartisan races including Hillsborough County School Board and judgeships.
According to the Supervisor of Elections Office, 20,197 voters took advantage of the chance to cast early votes. In addition, 36,578 Vote By Mail ballots have been returned. There are 707,217 people registered to vote in Hillsborough County -- 289,675 Democrats, 237,025 Republicans and 180,517 voters who list their party affiliation as "other."
Here are some key races to watch:
- In a race mired in controversy, state Rep. Rachel Burgin, R-Riverview, and former Senate President Tom Lee, R-Brandon, will vie for the District 24 Florida Senate Seat. Lee raised $99,190 between July 21 and Aug. 9, giving him an overall total of $333,825. Burgin collected $13,700 during the period for a total of $141,678.
- Two political newcomes are battling to become the Republican nominee for the District 57 Florida House seat. Riverview resident and St. Stephen Catholic Church parishioner Brian Hollands faces Plant City resident and First Baptist Church of Plant City member Jake Raburn for the seat that includes Plant City, Bloomingdale, Lithia and Riverview.
- In a race to claim the Republican nomination for the Florida House Senate District 59 seat, there are four Republican candidates on Tuesday's ballot: Mike Floyd, R-Plant City, Ross Spano, R-Riverview, Betty Jo Tompkins, R-Brandon, and Joe Wicker, R-Brandon. This district runs from Seffner to Riverview and includes the bulk of Brandon and parts of Valrico.
- Another hotly contended race is for the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser's seat. Following accusations that current Property Appraiser Rob Turner sent elicit emails to a staffer, State Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, dropped her bid for another term in the Senate to "clean up the Property Appraiser's office."
- The nonpartisan Hillsborough County District 7 School Board seat has garnered interest from six candidates. Challenging incumbent Carol W. Kurdell are Joe Jordan-Robinson, Terry Kemple, Carl Francis Kosierowski, Robert McElheny and Michael Weston.
- Voters have five choices for Republican candidates for United States Senator: George LMieux, Connie Mack, Mike McCalister, Marielena Stuart and Dave Weldon. On the Democrat side, Glenn A. Burkett is challenging U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.
- There are two races for U.S. Congress that impact the area. The first is for District 14, which includes the Riverview area west of Interstate 75. Republicans Eddie Adams Jr. and EJ Otero are vying for the seat. The other is for District 17, which includes an area south of the Alafia River, including Lithia and Riverview.
- Two Democratic candidates for Supervisor of Elections face off in the primary. Supervisor of Elections Office Chief of Staff is running against former County Commissioner Thomas Scott.
Here are some things voters need to know to make voting in the primary go smoothly:
- Florida is a “Closed Primary” state. This means people can only vote for candidates that are from their own party.
- If a particular race only has candidates from one party, the primary will decide the election. This also means that voters, regardless of party affiliation, can vote in that particular race.
- Voters should bring a photo and signature ID to the polls. Acceptable ID includes a Florida driver’s license, debit or credit card, military identification, passport, student ID and other similar options.
- Hillsborough County voters can check out what the ballots will look like in advance of Tuesday’s election by visiting the Supervisor of Elections website online.
- The polls in Hillsborough are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.