Election Day is here
JOE SEELIGSEBRING - Election Day has arrived, which is great news for the weary public that has been bombarded with a seemingly unending barrage of political ads, but today is the day for registered voters who didn't vote early to get to their respective precincts.
Published: November 6, 2012
Published: November 6, 2012
Hours for voting are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today.
Republicans hold an overall advantage in the county with 27,412 registered voters versus 23,235 registered Democrats.
Other voters total 11,429, for 62,076 registered voters.
Early voting statistics for Highlands County showed 8,385 Republicans and 6,104 Democrats cast their votes along with 2,500 other-affiliated voters.
That is in contrast to the 2008 presidential election where Democrats outvoted Republicans 9,486 to 8,520 in early votes. Voters with other affiliations had numbered 2,800, for a total of 20,806.
This also means this year 3,817 fewer voters cast their ballots before Election Day although Supervisor of Elections Joe Campbell has predicted a 68- to-70-percent voter turnout.
With crunch time drawing near, several candidates running for local races pulled out the stops to get their faces out there among voters.
There are two candidates running for sheriff, two for superintendent of schools, two for supervisor of elections, six for three open county commission seats, three for two seats on the Sun 'n Lake of Sebring Improvement District, four for two seats on the Soil and Water Conservation District, and five candidates for three seats on the Avon Park City Council.
Candido "Candi" Garcia said he has been told he is the first Hispanic person running for the sheriff's office. He was out campaigning Monday and said he felt he was breaking new ground for other Hispanics.
"I have a sign on my truck, and we'll be out on the corners," he said. "I'm going around to different places where the people can see the sign on the truck."
People have been calling him all morning, he said.
"I'm talking to people on the phone and on the streets," he said. "People are coming up to me shaking my hand, saying they voted."
He said he would, in all likelihood, stay at home with his family tonight and watch the election results.
"Anything that happens I give the glory to God," he said. "Whether I win or lose, I still have joy in my heart."
Running for reelection, Highlands County Sheriff Susan Benton said Monday she was on her way home from meetings in Tallahassee for the Florida Department of Transportation and its safety partners throughout the state.
She also attended a meeting at the Florida Sheriff's Association headquarters regarding the transmission of probable cause affidavits to the clerks and prosecutors.
"Right now I'm on I-10 and hope to be home for dinner," she said. "I have several appointments tomorrow so I'll be working as usual."
She said her deputies will be patrolling the precincts for those voting.
"I'll probably go to the elections office tomorrow evening to get a feel for the results," she said.
Running for County Commission, District 3 candidate Michael Stone said Monday he planned to get out on his golf cart and do some late campaigning with his sons, ages 4 and 5, around his own community in Sun 'n Lake.
"We'll go take the recycling," he said.
Then he'll drop off the children and head for U.S. 27.
"I'll be out on U.S. 27 with my boxing glove," he said. "The boxing glove goes hand-in-hand with fighting for the people."
Stone said he took some time off from his job at Budweiser for Bernie Little Distributors to campaign.
"I'll be at the polls; I'll be at all of the precincts throughout the day with my family waving with the signs," he said.
Incumbent District 3 Commissioner Ron Handley was working Monday.
"I'm in the building business," he said. "I've got a couple of small jobs going."
After that he planned on getting a trailer ready.
"Not very exciting, is it?" he quipped.
Today he plans to put his signs out at all the precincts and will make his rounds saying hello to the people.
Tonight he will be home keeping track of the voter turnout and will have someone at the elections office watching the results.
"Hopefully, we'll come out victorious," he said.
Running for school superintendent, Rebecca C. "Becky" Fleck, said Monday she spent part of the day putting out campaign signs and finalizing who will be out at various precincts waving to the voters, but she had other plans for the evening.
"My daughter came in from Texas and my other daughter is coming in from Orlando, so I'm being a mom for now," she said. "This is the first day I've taken off and I'll be off tomorrow.
"Tomorrow I'll be at the precincts," she said.
Wednesday and Thursday she will be at a meeting in Orlando for the Florida Organization of Instructional Leaders.
She said she might watch the election results online but plans to have a victory party at her home.
"This is my first time running for office and it's been a great experience," she said. "I've told people it's been a great civics lesson… I'm in it for the kids and I hope the kids prevail."
Incumbent School Superintendent Wally Cox was at work Monday at the Highlands County School Board and said everything seems to be going well.
"I've been out checking on schools," he said. "I plan to work a regular day today and tomorrow. It's a school day and I think I should be at work."
But he's got lots of campaign helpers.
"I'll have campaign workers out at the precincts – family and friends," he said. "I'll be out joining them at 5 p.m. or after. Then we're going to have a get-together at Reflections in Avon Park (at the clubhouse)."
He said they might just watch the elections results online, or one of his family members may go to the elections office.
"In my other elections I've never been there myself," he said.
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