Attention, St. Lucie County voters: Do your homework.
County and statewide voters can expect to spend more time than usual in the ballot booth on Nov. 6. Two pages’ worth of candidate and amendment choices, along with the local question regarding a half-cent sales tax increase, await.
In addition to selecting a U.S. senator and a representative to Congress, as well as a new governor, attorney general and chief financial officer, voters will have to make choices for state representative, county leadership and judges. Some residents will also be asked to select members of various community development districts as well as the St. Lucie West Services District.
But regardless of where they live in St. Lucie County, all residents will be asked to decide the county and municipalities’ Half-Cent Sales Tax Referendum and choose whether or not to support the 13 amendments proposed for Florida’s Constitution.
Here’s a brief look at the offices and questions on the Nov. 6 ballot. To determine which offices represent you, visit the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections Office online at www.slcelections.com to request a sample ballot specific to your precinct.
- Bill Nelson (incumbent) – D
- Rick Scott – R
Rep. in Congress Dist. 18
- Brian Mast (incumbent) – R
- Lauren Baer – D
- Ron DeSantis – R
- Andrew Gillum – D
- Darcy G. Richardson – REF
- Kyle “KC” Gibson – NPA
- Ryan Christopher Foley – NPA
- Bruce Stanley – NPA
- Ashley Moody – R
- Sean Shaw – D
- Jeffrey Mark Siskind – NPA
- Chief Financial Officer
- Jimmy Patronis (incumbent) – R
- Jeremy Ring – D
Commissioner of Agriculture
- Matt Caldwell – R
- Nicole “Nikki” Fried – D
State Sen. Dist. 25
- Gayle Harrell – R
- Robert Levy – D
State Rep. Dist. 54
- Erin Grall (incumbent) – R
- Nicole Haagenson – D
State Rep. Dist. 55
- Cary Pigman (incumbent) – R
- Audrey Asciutto – D
State Rep. Dist. 83
- Toby Overdorf – R
- Matt Theobald – D
State Rep. Dist. 84
- Mark Gotz – R
- Delores Hogan Johnson – D
County Commission Dist. 2
- Anthony Louis Bonna (appointed) – R
- Sean P. Mitchell – D
County Commission Dist. 4
- Frances “Frannie” Hutchinson (incumbent) – R
- Helen Viviane Henderson – D
Retention of Florida Supreme Court justice
- Alan Lawson
Retention of Florida District Court of Appeal
- Burton C. Conner
- Jeffery T. Kuntz
- Carole Y. Taylor
Circuit Judge 19th circuit
- Robert “Bob” Meadows
- Nirlaine Smartt
Community Development Districts
- Lake Lucie
- Portofino Shores
St. Lucie West Services District
- Viorel “Mr. Vio” Mocuta
- Wayne N. Smith
Half-Cent Local Government Surtax: Increase sales tax by a half-cent on items valued up to $5,000 for a period of 10 years. Funds collected would be distributed among the county, City of Port St. Lucie, City of Fort Pierce and St. Lucie Village, to be used on road, water and other such projects as overseen by a committee of citizens appointed by the various governments.
No. 1 – Increased Homestead Property Tax Exemption: Increase the homestead exemption by exempting the assessed valuation of homestead property between $100,000 and $125,000 for all but school district levies.
No. 2 – Limitations on Property Tax Assessments: Permanently cap increases to property tax assessments of non-homestead properties to 10 percent – with the exception of school district taxes.
No. 3 – Voter Control of Gambling in Florida: Grant Florida voters the right to decide authorization of casino gambling; does not conflict with federal law regarding state/tribe compacts.
No. 4 – Voting Restoration Amendment: Restores voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence, including parole or probation; does not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses.
No. 5 – Supermajority Vote Required to Impose, Authorize or Raise State Taxes or Fees: Prohibit legislature from imposing, authorizing or raising state taxes or fees except through legislation approved by two-thirds vote in the House and Senate; does not impact how local governments may impose taxes or fees.
No. 6 – Rights of Crime Victims, Judges: Creates constitutional rights for victims of crime by requiring courts to facilitate victims’ rights and authorizes victims to enforce their rights throughout the criminal and juvenile justice processes. Judges and hearing officers would be required to independently interpret statutes and rules. Also increases the age of mandatory retirement for state justices from 70 to 75 and deletes authorization to complete term if one-half term has been served by retirement age.
No. 7 – First Responder and Military Member Survivor Benefits; Public Colleges and Universities: Grants mandatory payment of death benefits and waiver of certain educational expenses to qualifying survivors of certain first responders and military members who die performing official duties. Requires supermajority (two-thirds) vote by university trustees and state university system board governors to raise or impose legislatively authorized fees if law requires approval; and establishes existing state college system constitutional entity and provides governance structure.
**No. 8 – School Board Term Limits, et al.: Struck from the ballot after determination was made that the title and summary were misleading.
No. 9 – Prohibits Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces: Would prohibit drilling for exploration or extraction of oil and natural gas under state-owned waters; adds vapor-generating electronic devises to current prohibition of tobacco smoking in enclosed indoor workplaces with exceptions; would allow for more restrictive local vapor ordinances.
No. 10 – State and Local Government Structure and Operation: Requires legislatures to retain department of veterans’ affairs; ensures election of sheriff’s property appraisers and other local constitutional officers; prohibits county charters’ ability to abolish, change term, transfer duties or eliminate election of offices; creates office of domestic security and counterterrorism; and sets annual legislative session in even-numbered years to January (was March).
No. 11 – Property Rights; Removal of Obsolete Provision; Criminal Statutes: Removes discriminatory language related to real property rights, removes obsolete language repealed by voters, deletes provision that changes to a criminal statute will not affect prosecution/penalties for crime committed before amendment, and keeps the current provision that allows prosecution of a crime committed before the repeal of the statute.
No. 12 – Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers: Expands current restrictions on lobbying for compensation by former public officers and creates restrictions of same by serving public officers, former justices and judges, and prohibits abuse of public position by public officers and employees for personal benefit.
No. 13 – Ends Dog Racing: Phases out commercial dog racing in connection with wagering by 2020; other gaming activities not affected. n