Early voting sites open throughout Pasco

Early voting in Pasco County for the Nov. 3 general election started Oct. 19 and will be available through Oct. 31.

NEW PORT RICHEY — Early voting in Pasco County for the Nov. 3 general election started Oct. 19 and will be available through Oct. 31.

According to the Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Office, there are 14 polling places available for residents. Included to the usual locations at government centers, libraries and community centers this year are four large recreation complexes.

Seven of the 14 early voting locations are west of the Suncoast Parkway and all are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. A full list of the sites can be found online at www.PascoVotes.com/early-voting/early-voting-schedule. A link on the website also allows residents to view the status of each location and estimated wait times.

Voters have already been able to submit ballots by mail and nearly 74,000 had been received as of Friday afternoon. The 73,828 ballots cast represents 18.77% of the county’s 393,422 eligible voters.

The Supervisor of Elections website offers a breakdown of received ballots. As of Friday afternoon, registered Democrats submitted 33,030, or 44.74% of the mail-in ballots. Registered Republicans mailed in 23,975 (32.47%), no-party voters sent in 15,829 (21.44%) and 994 of the mail-in ballots are listed as other.

Of Pasco County’s 111 precincts, voters from Precinct 6 in Zephyrhills had mailed in the most ballots, with 2,310. Multiple other precincts had mailed in more than 1,500 ballots, including Precinct 25 in New Port Richey, Precinct 36 in Lutz, Precinct 59 in Port Richey and Precinct 83 in Trinity.

Constitutional amendments

A yes vote to amendment one would mean that only United States citizens who are at least 18 years of age, a permanent resident of Florida, and registered to vote, as provided by law, would be qualified to vote in a Florida election.

A yes to amendment two would raise the state’s minimum wage to $10 an hour effective Sept. 30, 2021, and continue to increase the wage by $1 every year on Sept. 30 until it reaches $15 an hour on Sept. 30, 2026. After that, future minimum wage increases would be adjusted annually (on Sept. 30) based on inflation.

According to information with the ballot question, approval of amendment two is estimated to have a net negative impact on the state’s budget and may result in higher taxes or loss of government services.

• Approval of amendment three would end closed primaries for state offices. Voters will be asked to say yes or no to allowing all registered voters to vote in primaries for state legislature, governor and cabinet regardless of political affiliation. All candidates would appear on the same ballot and the two highest vote-getters would be to advance to the general election. If only two candidates qualify for an election, no primary would be held and they would both advance to the general election. Candidates’ party affiliation may appear on the ballot as required by law. If approved, the amendment would be effective Jan. 1, 2024.

According to information with the question, the change could cost additional costs to local governments with little effect to the cost of elections to the state.

• If voters say yes to amendment four, future amendments or revisions to the state constitution would have to be done by voter approval in two elections, not one election as it is now.

Approval could mean higher costs to state and local governments to conduct future elections, dependent on the number of ballot questions included in each election, according to information with the question. The potential impact to the budget is not known.

• A yes vote to amendment five would increase the time during which accrued Save-Our-Homes benefits could be transferred from a prior homestead to a future homestead from 2 years to three years, effective Jan. 1, 2021.

• Approval of amendment six would mean the additional homestead property tax discount given to certain veterans with permanent combat disabilities would carry over to their surviving spouse who holds legal or beneficial title to and permanently lives on the property until the spouse remarries or disposes of the property. The spouse could transfer the discount only under certain conditions. If approved the discount would take effect Jan. 2, 2021.