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Pasco County To Hold Special Election Tuesday

People casting their votes at polling booths
WUSF Staff
Voters in Pasco are getting ready for Tuesday's special election

Pasco County will be holding a special election Tuesday to replace former Representative Danny Burgess after he was selected by Governor Ron DeSantis to become the executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Voters will choose between Democrat Kelly Smith, 44, and Republican Randy Maggard, 55, to select the next House District 38 representative. Maggard defeated David McAllister in a primary election April 9.

However, the turnout for Tuesday’s election is expected to be quite low.

“Right now we’re about 11 percent and we’ll end up with 15, maybe 20 percent turnout,” said Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley. “There are thousands of ballots sitting on voters’ coffee tables and if they just simply open it up, fill in a bubble, and send it back to us, it could change not only the outcome, but dramatically increase turnout.”

Special Elections are rare - the last one in Pasco County was in 2013, according to Corley. They can also cost taxpayers: He estimates the county will spend around $700,000 for April’s primary and Tuesday’s special general election.

“We still have to have early voting, the vote-by-mail ballots, and we still have to have the election day polling places, so there’s just a requisite cost that is affiliated with any election,” said Corley.

Corley advises that voters have no need to worry about any outside interference with the election and ensures that their votes will be counted fairly and correctly.

“Regardless of what election it is, we treat each one as it’s the most important election, we’ve worked very closely with the state and Department of Homeland Security to shore up our systems both for cyber and physical security,” said Corley.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and you can find more information on the election and where to find your polling place at https://www.pascovotes.com/ or by calling 800-851-8754.

Jeffrey Smith is a WUSF/USF Zimmerman School digital news intern for summer 2019.
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