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Small Uptick In Voter Turnout For Okaloosa Municipal Election

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Tuesday’s Municipal Elections in Okaloosa County resulted in a new charter amendment for Destin and one new face to the Fort Walton Beach City Council. 

Twelve candidates ran for the three open seats on the Fort Walton Beach City Council, including two incumbents. Despite a lot of grassroots efforts from newcomers, only one made it on the council. Incumbents David Schmidt and Nic Allegretto will return to the council. Auto dealer Travis Smith will be the newcomer on the council. A total of 8,018 ballots were cast in Fort Walton Beach. 

Results are still unofficial with all precincts reported and vote-by-mail ballots partially reported. 

In Destin, voters overwhelmingly approved of a new charter amendment that would prohibit the city from “conveying, selling, leasing or otherwise transferring its interest” in any city park without a supermajority vote from city council — which means approval by five of the seven council members. The amendment was approved by 88% of the 1,283 Destin voters.  

And in Laurel Hill — Okaloosa County’s oldest city — voters re-elected Mayor Robby Adams for another four years and voted against a referendum to annex the city from Okaloosa County. Just under a third of residents voted in the municipal election with a total of 202 ballots cast. Sixty-five percent voted against the annexation. 

After high turnout for the 2020 General Election,  the staff at the Supervisor of Elections Office had said they were optimistic that some of that enthusiasm would carry over to the municipal race. Overall, the county had a 16.67% voter turnout. This is an increase from last municipal race in 2019 which had an 8% turnout. 

“These are the races that affect people the most,” Katie Fults, public relations and voter education coordinator for the Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections said late last year. “We need to impress upon young people that these candidates are the ones directly impacting your life.”

Jennie joined WUWF in 2018 as digital content producer and reporter.