August election brimming with local races

Early Voting Supervisor Of Elections
(Photo by Megan Winslow)

Tuesday’s election will bring changes for local voters in terms of what’s on the ballot and possibly where they are voting.  

While 11,000 people participated in early in-person voting and another 18,000 have returned their vote-by-ballots already, the remainder of Alachua County voters who head to the polls Tuesday to vote in person will need to check that they know where they are going.  

Sixteen polling places have been changed, a 17th one is new and two other locations have been combined for the August election. And on election day, voters can only vote at their assigned polling places. 

For the first time, the nonpartisan City of Gainesville’s elections will appear on the August ballot. The city will elect a new mayor and three new city commissioners in Districts 2, 3 and 4. 

Voters in 2018 approved the move from annual spring city elections to biennial fall elections that coincide with the statewide primaries. 

In all of the Gainesville contests, the incumbents are term-limited so the election will bring four new people to those seats – though there are several familiar faces in the mayor’s race. 

Countywide, four nonpartisan school board races and a Florida Eighth Judicial Circuit Court judge position will be on every August ballot regardless of party affiliation. 

If runoffs are needed for any of the nonpartisan races, the runoffs will appear on the November general election ballot. 

“Even though Florida is a closed primary state, this election is very unique for Alachua County residents as a whole, and also city of Gainesville residents, because there’s so much that is nonpartisan that it allows all registered voters to choose something to be passionate about and vote on,” said Aaron Klein, director of communication and outreach for the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Office. 

Redistricting, which occurs after every U.S. Census, has driven several changes – both on the ballots and where people will cast their votes.  

State-level redistricting meant Alachua County now is divided among three House districts and two state Senate districts – but only one of those races will be on the partisan primary ballots. 

In House District 22, incumbent Chuck Clemmons will face Ty Appiah in the Republican primary while on the Democratic side, Olysha Magruder will take on Brandon Peters. 

Countywide, only one of three open seats on the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) will be on the primary ballot with incumbent Marihelen Wheeler taking on Charlie Jackson in the Democratic primary. 

Redistricting did not change Alachua County’s place in the 3rd U.S. Congressional District of Florida. In the Republican primary, incumbent Kat Cammack will face Justin Waters while Danielle Hawk will face Tom Wells in the Democratic primary. 

Voters who want to find out where they can cast their ballots, and which races may be on their ballots, can check the new voter information cards mailed out this summer or look online at the election office’s votealachua.com website.  

On election day, the regular precinct polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.  

People who have completed vote-by-mail ballots can still turn them in from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, but only at the vote-by-mail monitored intake station at the Supervisor of Elections office, 515 N. Main Street in Gainesville. 

Voters who requested a vote-by-mail ballot but want to vote in person instead can surrender their vote-by-mail ballots at their assigned polling place before voting. 

Voters are required to show a valid photo and signature identification to vote. 

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