By Michele Dargan, A Civic Association Special Report. Candidates for the U.S. Senate and Florida Senate as well as key Palm Beach County offices, including county commissioner, supervisor of elections, sheriff and public defender are among the races on the ballot for the primary election August 30.
Registered voters can only vote for the candidates from their registered party. All registered voters can vote on ballot questions, non-partisan races and races where a candidate faces no opposition.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a former contender for the presidential nomination, will be front-and-center on Republican ballots. In June, Sen. Rubio made an about-face regarding his earlier decision not to run for re-election.
Challenging Sen. Rubio in the Republican primary will be Carlos Beruff, Ernie Rivera and Dwight Mark Anthony Young. Sen. Rubio released a statement at the time of his announcement, saying in part, “Control of the Senate may very well come down to the race in Florida…It means the direction of our country’s fiscal and economic policies will be determined by this Senate seat. The stakes for our nation could not be higher.”
Running for U.S. Senate on the Democratic side are: Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, Pam Keith, Reginald Luster and U.S. Rep. Patrick E. Murphy.
In the District 30 State Senate race, State Rep. Bobby Powell Jr. and Michael Steinger, both Democrats, will square off against each other in the primary. The winner will run against Republican Ron Berman in the Nov. 8 general election.
Due to redistricting, State Sen. Jeff Clemens, who currently represents Palm Beach, is running for District 31, the district south of Palm Beach.
After the Florida Supreme Court approved the redistricting map in December, the newly configured districts set in motion a jockeying by some elected officials to switch districts in order to retain the majority of their constituency.
U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, and U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, agreed to switch districts. Rep. Frankel, currently District 22, will run for the newly redrawn, all-Palm Beach County District 21 and Rep. Deutch, currently District 21, will run for District 22, which includes Highland Beach, Boca Raton and Broward County. Neither Rep. Frankel nor Rep. Deutch will be on the primary ballot because they haven’t drawn a Democratic challenger. Both have Republican challengers in the general election.
For the first time in 15 years, Public Defender Carey Haughwout is facing a challenger. Attorney William S. “Bill” Abramson is running against Ms. Haughwout.
Longtime Property Appraiser Gary Nikolits is retiring and has endorsed Deputy Property Appraiser Dorothy Jacks to be his successor. County Commissioner Shelly Vana also is running against Ms. Jacks for the job.
Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher faces a challenge from Christine Spain. Ms. Bucher was elected to the office in 2008.
Three candidates are challenging longtime Sheriff Ric L. Bradford. They are Alex Freeman, a police major in Riviera Beach; Rick “Rosco” Sessa, a former police lieutenant in Riviera Beach, and Samuel L. Thompson, a former Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy.
County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor, who is seeking reelection to her District 7 seat, faces a challenge from Mack Bernard, an attorney and former Delray Beach City Commissioner and Lawrence Gordon, the vice mayor of Haverhill.
Port of Palm Beach Commissioner George E. Mastics is seeking his sixth term. Joseph Anderson, Henry A. Taylor and Katherine Waldron also are running for that Group 2 seat.
There are two races for circuit court judge. Robert “Rob” Ostrov is challenging incumbent Judge Dina Keever in the Group 1 circuit race.
In the Group 4 judicial race, Luis “Lou” Delgado, Gregory Tendrich and Jeremy M. Zubkoff are running to replace retiring Judge Martin Colin.
In County Court judicial races, seven candidates are vying for three seats on the bench.
In Group 7, incumbent Judge Marni Bryson is being challenged by Lisa Ann Grossman.
In Group 11, Thomas R. Baker, Gregg Lerman and Dana M. Santino are vying for this seat vacated by Judge Laura Johnson. Judge Johnson will replace retiring Judge Jack Cox on the circuit court bench in January.
In Group 15, Esther “Ettie” Feistmann is running against Bradley G. Harper for this seat vacated by the retirement of Judge Barry Cohen.
Constitutional Amendment 4
The Amendment 4 ballot question, if passed, would provide tax breaks for the installation of solar or renewable energy equipment.
“Proposing an amendment to the state constitution to authorize the legislature, by general law, to exempt from ad valorem taxation the assessed value of solar or renewable energy source devices in assessing the value of real property for ad valorem taxation purposes. This amendment takes effect January 1, 2018 and expires on December 31, 2037.”
The Palm Beach Civic Association and the Citizen’s Association of Palm Beach will host a “Meet Your Candidates” night from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Nick and Johnnie’s, 207 Royal Poinciana Way. Over 100 have already made reservations for the event and so we are full and accepting reservations on a Wait List. To be added to the Wait List, call 561-655-0820.
Each candidate will get two minutes to speak at the microphone and surrogates for the candidates will not be allowed to fill in.
Fast Facts on the Primary Election in Palm Beach
By Michele Dargan, Special to the Civic Association
Registered voters may vote early from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, August 15 through Sunday, August 28.
The closest early voting locations to Palm Beach are the supervisor of elections office, 240 South Military Trail, West Palm Beach; the West Palm Beach Police Community Room, 600 Banyan Blvd., West Palm Beach and the Lantana Branch Library, 4020 Lantana Road, Lantana.
Whether you vote during early voting or on Election Day, you will be asked to provide a valid photo ID with signature at the polls. If your photo ID does not include your signature, you will be asked to provide another ID that has your signature.
If you do not bring proper ID, you can still vote a provisional ballot. As long as you are eligible and voted in the proper precinct, your provisional ballot will count provided the signature on your provisional ballot matches the signature in your registration record.
Vote-by-Mail (formerly Absentee Ballot)
As of July 1, 2016, the term “Absentee Ballot” has changed to “Vote-by-Mail Ballot.”
Vote-by-mail refers to voting a ballot received by mail or picked up by or for a voter who is unable or unwilling to go to the polls during early voting or Election Day. A request covers all elections through the end of the calendar year for the second ensuing regularly scheduled general election.
A request for a vote-by-mail ballot must be made to the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections either through an online application, in writing via email, fax or mail or by phone.
The following information is required for a vote-by-mail ballot: the name of the voter for whom the ballot is being requested, the voter’s address, date of birth and signature, if the request is written.
If an immediate family member or legal guardian is requesting a vote-by-mail ballot for you, the following additional information must be provided: the requestor’s address, the requestor’s driver’s license number (if available), the requestor’s relationship to the voter and the requestor’s signature (if the request is written).
The deadline to request that a vote-by-mail ballot be mailed is no later than 5 p.m. on the 6th day before the election. Otherwise, a vote-by-mail ballot can be picked-up until and including on Election Day. However, the ballot must still be received by the Supervisor of Elections no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day if the voted ballot is to count.
For more information on vote-by-mail ballots, visit Florida Division of Elections (Vote by Mail) or Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections (Vote by Mail)
Primary Election Day Voting, Tuesday, August 30
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Palm Beach Polling Locations:
- Precincts 1390 and 1392 vote at St. Edward Catholic Church, 165 N. County Road.
- Precincts 1394 and 7154 vote at the Central Fire Station, 355 S. County Road
- Precincts 7156, 7158 and 7166 vote at the South Fire Station, 2185 S. Ocean Boulevard.