In a few more days, we St. Petersburg residents will be headed to the polls to decide on at least two important items: Who we will have for the next Mayor of St. Petersburg (the top two winners will advance to the St. Petersburg General Election on 5 November 2013) and whether you want the new St. Petersburg Pier - called The Lens - to be built or not.
Bur first, let's review the Pinellas County Four-Step if you decide to cast your ballot at your assigned polling place on Tuesday, 27 August 2013. A summary of the Pinellas County Four-Step is thus:
Prerequisite to the Pinellas County Four-Step: Picture and signature identification, which you must bring with you to the polls or you will be asked to vote a provisional ballot. Here's the run-down on the picture and signature identification you will need:
Florida Driver License
Florida Identification Card
United States Passport (the passport book or card is OK)
Debit or credit card
Student or Military ID
Retirement Center ID
Neighborhood Association ID
Public Assistance ID
Step 1: Here is where you check in after you are greeted by the polling place deputy, whose job is to maintain law and order in the polling place. Show the poll worker one of the items of picture and signature identification as described above and confirm your address as it is shown in the register. Sign the register as shown to you by the poll worker. The poll worker will hand you a yellow ticket with your name on it for you to take to Step 2.
Step 2: Here is where you exchange the yellow ticket you received in Step 1 for the actual ballot. You will be asked to fill in the oval to confirm that your name is correct on the yellow ticket and you will be asked to sign in the space on the yellow ticket to prove that you actually received your ballot. The poll worker will hand you your ballot in a red secrecy envelope, ready for you to proceed to Step 3.
Step 3: Step on over to any one of the many open privacy booths in the polling place. This is where you make your selections using the black pen that was supplied to you in Step 2.
A ballot marking machine is available if you would like to use it. Simply let the poll worker know and you will be shown how to use the machine.
Made a mistake? Simply return to Step 2 and request another ballot. Remember, Florida law (Section 101.031 of the Florida Statutes, which contains the Voter Bill of Rights, and it's listed in Item 4 under Voter Rights) restricts you to three ballots, so if you are on your third and final ballot, it is strongly suggested that you use the ballot marking machine to make your selections.
Regardless of whether you mark your ballot by hand in the privacy booth or use the ballot marking machine, there is one more step involved; that is your ballot being scanned as described in Step 4.
Step 4: Here is where you feed your completed ballot into the scanner. A poll worker is on duty at the scanner to assist you as needed. Wait until the scanner takes your ballot and the "success" message on the screen.
Collect your "I Voted" sticker and exit the polling place. That's all there is to it!
OK. Now that you got the Pinellas County Four-Step, you are ready to go vote!
Speaking of what's going to be on the 27 August 2013 St. Petersburg Primary Election ballot, there is one major question which I feel will cause a lot of confusion, and that is the question of The Pier. Let's untangle that confusion right here.
Here's the exact wording of the question as shown on the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections' web site. I will reproduce this for you exactly as shown:
An Ordinance Terminating the Michael Maltzan New Pier Design Agreement Based on The Lens Concept
Shall an ordinance be added to the City of St. Petersburg’s existing ordinances that would require the City to send a notice of termination, within five business days of the effective date of the ordinance, to Michael Maltzan Architecture, Inc. to terminate the existing architect/engineering agreement between the City of St. Petersburg and Michael Maltzan Architecture, Inc. which agreement was approved by City Council Resolution Number 2012-233 on May 17, 2012?
Voting YES on this question signifies that you want the architect/engineering agreement between the City of St. Petersburg and Michael Maltzan Architecture related to the New Pier Design cancelled. Voting YES will mean stop The Lens.
Voting NO on this question signifies that you want the architect/engineering agreement between the City of St. Petersburg and Michael Maltzan Architecture related to the New Pier Design to remain in place as it is now. Voting NO will mean keep The Lens.
So, it all boils down to one sentence: It's up to you.
As for whatever your preference is, I'll leave that up to you and you alone to decide. When you go into the polling place on Tuesday, 27 August 2013 you will be informed and you will make your decision based on what your choice will be.
And one more thing while we're on the subject of voting in the St. Petersburg Primary on Tuesday, 27 August 2013:
If you have received a mail ballot and you have already mailed it in, great!
However, if you have received a mail ballot and you want to go vote at your assigned polling place, it's not too late! Just be sure to bring the mail in ballot with you when you go to the polls; the poll worker will collect your mail ballot and you will be given a regular ballot as described in the Pinellas County Four-Step earlier.
And if you have lost your mail ballot by any chance, you can still vote at your assigned polling place! Simply let the poll worker know and the poll worker will check to see if you have not voted yet before you receive your ballot.
Whatever you do, don't just sit there and do nothing St. Petersburg: Get out there and VOTE! Not only at the primary on 27 August 2013, but the general election on 5 November 2013 too!
Again, get out there and VOTE!