Check Your Mailbox...But Hold That Ballot!
It's time to get informed
Manatee County, we are now only six weeks away from primary day (August 23). However, many of you are about to start officially voting. In the expanding world of mail-in ballots, voters will potentially begin expressing their choices any day now. How many exactly? In the 2020 primary elections, only 28.4% of registered voters (74,426) actually took the time to vote, which is a sad stat. However, equally alarming, over 70% of those were done through vote-by-mail. Yes, COVID did impact this but mail-ins were still over 50% in 2018 and I unfortunately don’t think we’re putting that horse back in the barn and getting a majority of voters back out to the ballot boxes any time soon.
I always encourage everyone to be an informed voter. Learn the candidates and their positions. Take time to review the ballot. Watch the debates.
The reality is that these ballots will be arriving in mailboxes shortly. A large percentage of them will be filled out and mailed back within days of receipt, whether it’s due to a fear of losing the ballot or forgetting to mail it or simply because they believe they already know who they support so why wait. As the various campaigns have barely finished polishing their talking points and putting up their first signs, these early voters will potentially not be as informed as we always encourage them to be.
Have you even seen a debate? Last cycle when I was running, we seemed to have endless opportunities to speak with the voters. This year has been a bit quiet with the exception of various informative roundtables hosted by Republican Clubs such as Manatee Patriots, the Manatee RLC and a few others. It’s finally ramping up with Tiger Bay scheduling two upcoming events in July, League of Women Voters hosting multiple Zoom debates for the School Board races this week, a candidate meet-and-greet with the Chamber of Commerce tomorrow and a joint Manatee/Sarasota REC Forum this coming Saturday. I would encourage you to attend, or at least watch, as many of these as you can before sealing that envelope.
I wrote about the full run-down of candidates last month.
There are only a handful of actual primary races that will potentially appear on your ballot if you’re a Republican (or registered as one). A few of these are party primaries and the rest are nonpartisan races. I was going to give my thoughts on these throughout August but, with the mail-in ballots coming out and a full calendar of Board meetings approaching, I’ve decided to expedite this timeline.
Throughout the remainder of July, I’ll be posting my thoughts on the following races.
Thursday, July 14
Florida Senate, District 22 “A Write-in Candidate Case Study”
Monday, July 18
US House of Representatives, District 16 “Community First”
Thursday, July 21
Manatee County School Board Districts 2, 4 & 5 “Nonpartisan…?”
Monday, July 25
BOCC District 4 “If you try to please all, you please none”
Thursday, July 28
BOCC District 6 “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over…”
There are two local primary races which will be excluded.
The first is for Florida Senate, District 20. Senator Jim Boyd is technically in a primary against the same opponent he faced in 2020. During that election cycle, he rightfully received 90.1% of the vote. Based on his incredibly favorable and well-deserved reputation in both Manatee County and Tallahassee, as well as his proven advocacy for our area, I would only expect this race to become even more lopsided in 2022.
The other local race on some of your ballots will be for BOCC District 2. As this primary is closed to only Democratic voters, I will let those voters choose their own candidate for the general election without commentary, as I believe all political parties should be given the right to do during their primaries.
These next six weeks determine the direction of Manatee County for years to come. So stay tuned and be sure to subscribe. And whatever you do, DON’T mail that ballot until you’ve become an informed voter!
Be sure to receive all the primary race posts by subscribing. These upcoming posts will be sent straight to your inbox!