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Tampa mail ballots coming in at a trickle

As of Monday, only 8,339 out of 57,345 ballots were returned.

With less than one week to go before early voting starts in Tampa’s municipal election, ballots are only trickling in from voters who asked to receive them.

As of Monday, only 8,339 out of 57,345 ballots were returned. That’s just 12.5 percent of those requested. Total voter turnout in 2011 when Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn made the runoff that year was 22 percent.  

None have been returned since Friday.

The largest rate of return came on February 11 when 1,765 ballots were returned. That was a Monday.

The first ballots went out to voters on January 22 with most sent January. 29.

Voters can still request ballots. Over the past week nearly 300 more ballots have been sent, indicating voters are still requesting them.

Voters can return ballots up until Election Day. The Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections office recommends mailing them at least one week before Election Day, which is March 5. That means voters should mail their ballots no later than Feb. 27. After that, voters can return ballots to any of the supervisor’s offices during business hours or to early voting locations.

Early voting begins Monday and runs through March 3 from 10am to 6pm at seven locations throughout the city.

Those locations include:

Cyrus Green Center

2101 E. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Fred B. Karl County Center

601 E. Kennedy Blvd.

Jan Kaminis Platt Regional Library

3910 S. Manhattan Ave.

New Tampa Regional Library

10001 Cross Creek Blvd.

North Tampa Branch Library

8916 North Blvd.

Robert L. Gilder Elections Service Center

2514 N. Falkenburg Rd.

West Tampa Branch Library

2312 W. Union St.

There are 237,418 registered voters in the city of Tampa. Of those, 108,620 are Democrats, 61,485 are Republicans, 65,120 are no party affiliation and 2,193 are a third party.

Offices up for election include Mayor and all seven City Council districts. There are also 18 charter amendments on the ballot.

A runoff election for mayoral and city council candidates in races where no candidate receives more than half the vote will be held April 23.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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