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June 12, 2014

Lafayette elections supervisor looking forward to Aug. primary

Mayo — Lafayette County Supervisor of Elections Travis Hart and his staff are gearing up for a busy mid-term election year.

“I’ve been in the Elections Office now for a little over a year and I’m getting broken in pretty good this year because we’re going into a mid-term election,” said Hart. “It’s been a great blessing and a great thing to do for my community. I’m looking forward to going through my first election cycle this year.”

Hart said there are quite a few candidates already this year, but there is still plenty of time left for qualifying. He complimented Sarah Ann Tidwell who has 25 years of experience working at the Supervisor of Elections Office in Lafayette County. He said she was the “brains” of the operation.

“She’s my right arm in the office,” said Hart.

There will be eight days of early voting for both the primary and general election, Hart said. The primary election is set for Aug. 26, and the general election is Nov. 4. Early voting for the primary runs from Saturday, Aug. 16, to Saturday, Aug. 23. Early voting for the general election will run from Saturday, Oct. 25 through Saturday, Nov. 1. Early voting will take place at the Elections Office and voters must present a “current” photo ID with signature.

State and multi-county seats up for election this year are:

Governor and Cabinet

Attorney General

Agriculture Commissioner

Chief Financial Officer

State Representative, District 7, currently held by Halsey Beshears

Circuit Court

Federal seats up for election are:

Congress, District 3, currently held by Ted Yoho

Hart said all of the seats up for election have drawn opponents except for the Ag Commissioner.

Local seats up for election this year are:

County Commission District 2, currently held by Gail Garrard, and District 4, currently held by T. Jack Byrd

School Board District 1, currently held by Darren Driver, District 3, currently held by Timothy Pearson, and District 5, currently held by Reba Trawick

Breakdown of county

Hart offered a breakdown of total registered voters in the county.

District 1: 889 registered voters with 570 Democrats, 252 Republicans, 56 Non-Partisan and 11 Other

District 2: 720 registered voters with 486 Democrats, 204 Republicans and 30 Non-Partisan

District 3: 998 total registered voters with 629 Democrats, 310 Republicans, 47 Non-Partisan and 12 Other

District 4: 1,110 total registered voters with 694 Democrats, 339 Republicans, 60 Non-Partisan and 17 Other

District 5: 714 total registered voters with 542 Democrats, 132 Republicans, 32 Non-Partisan and 8 Other

There are a total of 4,431 registered voters with 2,921 Democrats, 1,237 Republicans, 225 Non Partisan and 48 Other.

Since Hart’s presentation, he said they have added a few more people to the voter rolls.

“We’re doing good,” he said.

Hart noted that for the 2012 General Election where the turnout was 75.3 percent, there were a total of 4,574 registered voters in the county.

“We’re down just a hair,” he said.

Of those who voted in 2012, 590 voted absentee, 959 early voted and 1,893 voted on election day.

“More than half voted before election day,” said Hart. “That’s pretty good. That’s what it was meant to do.”

Absentee voting

Absentee voting rules in Florida have changed in recent years, Hart explained, so that now you don’t have to have an excuse if you want to vote absentee. Any registered voter can do so. To obtain an absentee ballot you can get it in person from the Elections Office, have it mailed or e-mailed to you, or request it by phone or fax. You can also go to www.lafayettevotes.net to request an absentee ballot. The last day to request a mailed absentee ballot is by 5 p.m. on Aug. 20 for the Primary Election and by 5 p.m. on Oct. 29 for the General Election. Absentee ballots must be returned to the Elections Office and cannot be dropped off at one’s polling site on election day.

Hart said aside from the county’s website, he also set up a Facebook page (lafayettevotes) to keep people abreast of what’s going on.

Qualifying

Candidates wishing to run in the election must qualify beginning at noon Monday, June 16 through Friday, June 20, at noon.

If you want to vote in the upcoming elections, you must register by July 28 for the Primary and by Oct. 6 for the General Election.

Recount

Sometimes a race is so close that a recount is a possibility. Hart said “a recount is automatic when a candidate is defeated by less than 1/2 of one percent, unless the defeated candidate requests in writing to not have the recount.”

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