Voter’s Guide to the Miami-Dade Downballot – Part I: Introduction

Early voting for the upcoming primary and judicial election in Miami-Dade County begins today. The Sample Ballot for the August 24, 2010 Primary in Miami-Dade County is now available. (And it is already subject to one correction: Ronald Brise has dropped out of the race for District 108 State Rep.)

Most of the ink gets spilled on the high-profile primary races: the Senate (I'll vote Kendrick Meek, faute de mieux), the Governorship (Alex Sink), with a little oxygen left over for the race for Higher-Office-in-Waiting Attorney General (in which I'm strongly leaning Dan Gelber).

But little gets said about the the other contests and issues on the ballot, even though voting on these is in some ways as important. Because these are local races or ballot questions there is a smaller pool of eligible voters than for statewide rares, and being downballot many people don't even bother to vote. If you vote, your vote counts that much more. Unfortunately, it's hard to get information about judicial elections. Plus, many people don't even know which state legislative district they live in. Find out which Florida Representative district you live in, or if you know your zip+4 number, find your State Senator, State Rep and US Congress district using the tool in the left margin of the Florida State Senate homepage. (Note: in entering your zip+4 number, don't enter the “+” sign, just the nine-digit number.)

So I thought I'd say a few words about the downballot issues on which I'll be voting. I don't have a primary vote in either the US Congress race, the State House or the State Senate, or even the County Commission (I live just outside the hotly-contested District 8 in which Annette Taddeo is running; you can find your M-D County Commission district here) but there are still a number of choices to make: two circuit judges, two county judges, a school board member, and three county charter amendments. (I don't live in a community council district although some are also on the ballot.)

In the coming days I'll explain how I'm voting in each of these downballot races or issues and give some reasons. Here's the plan:

Part I: Introduction (today)
Part II: Circuit Judges
Part III: County Judges
Part IV: School Board, District 6
Part V: Miami-Dade County Charter Amendments

Incidentally, if you don't know where to vote use the handy precinct-finder. It's too late to register to vote for the primary elections, but not too late to vote in the November general election, as registration closes 29 days before the election. Check your registration status if you are unsure whether you are eligible to vote.

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