Escambia County Supervisor of Elections

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Out of the 13 million registered voters in Florida, about two million have already cast ballots for Tuesday’s primary, surpassing totals from previous years. Turnout was also reported to be up in western Panhandle.

As of Monday morning, about 1.2 million voters mailed it in, and 659,000 took advantage of early voting, which wrapped up on Saturday. Democrats used a final weekend surge to exceed Republicans by 20,000 in early voting, while the GOP led by 65,000 in absentee ballots cast.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

As part of getting ready for the 2018 election cycle, election officials in Florida have received training from the University of West Florida’s Center for Cybersecurity. WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody reports.

The Center taught the courses in Tallahassee, Miami, Orlando and St. Augustine last month.

“[An election] is an ongoing target; it’s a very fast-moving field. Every breach that occurs, every new threat that comes up, has a little bit of a different twist to it,” says Eman El-Sheikh, Director of the UWF Center for Cybersecurity.

WUWF Public Media

With the August 28 primary looming, candidates for local and statewide offices are ratcheting up their campaigns. In the first of a two-part report, WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody looks at the grassroots races.

Fifty-two candidates are on the ballot for 21 seats in Escambia County government and the judiciary. Much of the attention will be on the higher-profile races – Pensacola Mayor and City Council, along with the Escambia County Commission.

escambiavotes.com

And they’re off! 

Florida's primary election season is underway after qualifying ended on Friday.

It’s a full plate for voters in Pensacola, with seats up for grabs on the City Council, Escambia County Commission, the Florida and U.S. Houses of Representatives, as well as an open seat for Pensacola Mayor.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Elections officials in both Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties plan workshops next week, for those interested in running for office in 2018.

These workshops are useful because many who seek public office have not done so before, and for political veterans it’s a refresher course.

“We have a lot of people that come into our office; obviously, they’re curious about what offices are up for election and what it means to be a candidate,” said Tappie Villane, Elections Supervisor in Santa Rosa County.

As part of getting ready for the 2018 election cycle, Escambia County’s Supervisor of Elections recently attended a meeting in San Antonio, Texas on military and overseas voting.

For several years now, David Stafford and Okaloosa County Elections Chief Paul Lux have been involved with the Overseas Voting Initiative, working with the Pentagon and the Council of State Governments.

volusiademocraticparty.org

Almost four and a half million people already have voted in the battleground state of Florida, according to the state Division of Elections.

That’s including a larger turnout so far in the western Panhandle.

Supervisors of Elections in the three counties report a record in the number of voter registrations for an election cycle: 130,000 in Santa Rosa County and  135,000 in Okaloosa.

Sandra Averhart

A federal court has issued an order extending Florida’s voter registration deadline until Wednesday. That gives state residents one extra day to register to vote in the November 8th General Election.

Across the region, election officials have conducted numerous voter registration events in the past few weeks. Two such events on Friday reached out the youngest and oldest members of Escambia County’s electorate.

The first voter outreach was held at University Pines Senior Living Community in Pensacola.

Voters in Florida go to the polls Tuesday for the state primary: that is, those who haven’t already taken advantage of casting ballots early or by mail.

Escambia County ended just shy of 9,000 early voters, 8,826 is the unofficial turnout figure for the early voting period, August 20-27. David Stafford, Escambia County’s Supervisor of Elections, adds that figure is 103 percent over the 2014 primary, and up 32 percent over 2012.

Photo via Flickr//Steve Cornelius / https://flic.kr/p/dqv6XU

  Escambia Supervisor David Stafford says hours for six of the seven locations are nine a.m. until six p.m. The seventh, the Supervisor’s main office, closes an hour earlier.

“We looked at data, particularly from some other counties and also compared it to ours, and noted that counties that open a little bit later in the morning and stayed open a little bit later in the evening got more bang for their buck in that final hour,” said Stafford.

northescambia.com

Supervisors of Elections in Florida’s 67 counties are getting ready for the August 30 primary, including Escambia County’s David Stafford.

Stafford expects a lower turnout for the primary than for the November 8 general election. But he says the August vote is important in and of itself.

“There’s a lot on the ballot this primary,” Stafford says. “Everything from the mayor from the Town of Century all the way up to United States senator. Some school board races, some constitutional offices, county commissioners, etc. that appear on the ballot.”

City of Pensacola

The Pensacola City Council held a workshop Monday on the 11 charter amendments, which range from minor tweaks to scrapping the charter altogether and returning to the previous council-manager form of government.

“We had a very interesting discussion, some of it very contentious. What came out of it, I think, is that we have a pretty divided Council on most of these issues,” said Councilman Larry B. Johnson, who represents the city’s 4th District.

While some council members argue strong mayor-council hasn’t succeeded, Johnson says the jury’s still out.

Photo via Flickr// bored-now / https://flic.kr/p/4rFEVB

Republican and Democratic-registered voters in Escambia County can begin casting early votes for the Florida Presidential Primary on Saturday.

Hours are eight a.m. until five p.m., tomorrow through Saturday, March 12. Elections Supervisor David Stafford says all signs are pointing to a high level of interest. Absentee ballots already have surpassed those from the 2008 presidential primary. 

Photo via Flickr// NadineOG / https://flic.kr/p/dpFYRg

There are two weeks left to register to vote in the Florida primaries on March 15th. By Florida law, the registration books have to close 29 days before an election. In this case, that’s February 16.

Escambia County Elections Supervisor David Stafford says only voters registered as Democrats or Republicans can vote in this primary. About 21% of the county’s registered voters are either No Party Affiliation, or belong to a minor party.

Florida will move ahead with online voter registration despite Gov. Rick Scott’s worries.

Citing “some hesitation,” Scott signed Senate Bill 228 on Friday, which mandates an online voter registration system be up and running by October 1, 2017. Sec. of State Ken Detzner -- Florida’s top elected official -- opposed the measure. He pleaded with lawmakers not to pass it but in the end, he stood aside.

escambiavotes.org

Florida State Senator Jeff Clemens is proposing creation of an online voter registration system, in time for the 2016 elections.

Clemens, a Democrat from Lake Worth, wants the state Division of Elections to establish a secure website, which would accept voter-registration applications beginning  January 1, 2016. Senate Bill 228 is one of the top priories of the Florida Association of County Elections Supervisors.

Voters across Florida are getting mailers from Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign, which are leading to some concerns about their absentee ballots. However, there are NO problems with the ballots.

A column by Andy Marlette on the Pensacola News Journal’s website says that Scott’s “Let’s Get to Work” campaign has sent out flyers with “Voter Alert” in bold, red type, and a warning that “Your absentee ballot should have arrived.” That drew the attention of David Stafford – Escambia County’s Supervisor of Elections.

Photo via Flickr//Vox Efx

  Eight days of early voting in Escambia County ended on Saturday, as did 13 days in Santa Rosa and Okaloosa. And now, other voters must actually go to the polls on Tuesday to vote in the primary.

Of the three counties in the western Panhandle, Okaloosa collected the most votes in the early period, at just under 6,200. Paul Lux, the county’s Elections Supervisor, says despite the most recent numbers, early voting is gaining in popularity. Absentee ballots processed in Okaloosa County as of Monday total just under 5,000.

Photo via Flickr//Vox Efx

 Early voting in Escambia County for the August 26 primary kicked off Saturday morning, and runs through next Saturday, August 23.

Nearly 199,000 voters were registered in Escambia when the books closed late last month. That’s a 6% rise from the 2012 primary, which included a presidential ballot. But David Stafford, the county’s Supervisor of Elections, says the increase does not change his turnout prediction of around 25%.

Qualifying for candidates seeking local offices kicked off at noon on Monday. Candidates have until noon Friday to file at the Supervisor of Elections Office.

Plenty of seats are up for grabs, including two on the Escambia County Commission; three each on the County School Board and Pensacola City Council, along with the Pensacola mayor’s office. Add to that, Districts One and Two on the Florida House of Representatives, and state Senate District Two.

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