Outgoing Santa Rosa County Supervisor of Elections Ann Bodenstein is expecting an interesting Nov. 6 General Election.
With a longer than normal ballot, constitutional amendments, and the presidential election going on, she is expecting quite a turnout.
"I would say we could have as many as 95 percent of the registered voters go out an vote this year," Bodenstein said. "We have been very busy the last couple of weeks leading up to when the books closed and we have mailed out 13,500 absentee ballots."
With the ballot this November in Santa Rosa County being two pages, front and back, Bodenstein feels there could be a line of congestion as some will wait until Election Day to read the ballot and decide.
"We have mailed out a sample ballot and I encourage everyone to read it and mark how they feel," Bodenstein said. "Bring it with you on
Election Day or make a note card on how you want to vote on the different amendments."
But a four-page ballot is nothing as Bodenstein pointed out Orange County, Fla.'s ballot will be six-pages and that Dade County is even bigger.
The amendments on the ballot this year focuses on - health care services, veterans disabled due to combat injury getting a homestead property tax discount, a state government revenue limitation, property tax limitations when property values decline, state courts, prohibition on public funding of abortions, religious freedom, homestead property tax exemption for surviving spouse of military veteran or first responder, tangible personal property tax exemption, an additional homestead exemption for low income seniors, and the appointment of student body president to board of governors of the state university system.
Due to the sheer number of amendments, Bodenstein is wondering if the governor will invoke an executive order to keep the polls open longer than 7 p.m.
"The polls will remain open until 7 p.m. and everyone in line at 7 p.m. will vote a regular ballot," Bodenstein said. "But those who get in line after that time to vote will vote a special provisional ballot.
"The reason for this is these ballots could be tied up in the courts for a while after the election because of a bunch of lawsuits."
If a ballot is challenged on Election Day the voter will cast a provisional ballot, but it will be kept separate from the other provisionalís if voting is extended across the state.
"We will use the smaller provisional bag for provision ballots on Election Day and a much larger bag for the provisional ballots that would be cast if the hours are extended."
Another big sticking point this year is the retention votes for the judges across the state of Florida.
Voters across Florida are asked to vote to retain or dismiss judges on a merit system.
This year three of seven Supreme Court Justices will be on the ballot and 15 of 61 appeals court judges are up for retention.
These justices were appointed by the Governor's office after receiving a list submitted by the Judicial Nominating commission.
You can find out how these judges and justices have voted in cases by going to www.FloridaBar.org/TheVotesInYourCourt.
On this site you can also see videos of these justices and judges at work and read about their background as well.
In the mid 1970's Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment establishing this system.
Locally there are two races being contested in Santa Rosa County - Santa Rosa County Sheriff and Santa Rosa County School Board District 4.
In the Santa Rosa County Sheriff's race incumbent Sheriff Wendell Hall will face a challenge of Chris Roper, while in the school board race Charles Elliott will face Jenny Granse.
Early voting will begin on Oct. 27 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Supervisor of Elections Office and the South End County Annex in Midway. The early voting period will end on Nov. 3.
Election time approaches
Oct 19, 2012 at 12:01 AM Oct 19, 2012 at 12:25 PM