It’s starting to look like voter turnout in St. Petersburg mayoral race may not reach levels seen four years ago the last time the race was on the ballot.
Voter turnout in the 2017 Primary Election, which featured incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and his top challenger, former Mayor Rick Baker, finished at just over 33%.
To reach that turnout, 63,170 St. Pete voters would need to turn in a ballot this year. As of 12:30 p.m., only about 44,000 residents had voted, leaving about 12,000 more votes needed to match the 2017 turnout.
As of 12:30 p.m., only about 4,200 voters had cast a ballot in-person at one of the city’s polling places.
Of all the votes cast so far, Democrats have returned about 24,000 ballots while Republicans have returned just shy of 13,000. Voters with no party affiliation have returned nearly 7,000 ballots.
Since polls opened, nearly 3,000 Democrats have voted, compared to just over 2,000 Republicans and about 500 independents.
The busiest precincts so far on Election Day are at the Coliseum, Lake Vista Recreation Center, Northside Lodge, Pasadena Community Church, Pinellas Community Church, Roberts Recreation Center and The Gathering Church.
The busiest time of the day on Election Day typically occurs in the early evening as voters return home from work.
Candidates running for Mayor include former Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch and City Council members Darden Rice and Robert Blackmon, the top-polling candidates. Also running are former City Council member Wengay Newton, restaurateur Pete Boland, small business owner Marcile Powers, University of South Florida St. Pete student Michael Ingram and community activist Torry Nelson. Write-in candidate Michael Levinson is also running.
Three City Council races are also on the ballot, including a Special Election to replace Blackmon in District 1 and regularly scheduled elections in Districts 4 and 8. City Council races in the Primary are open only to voters within the district. The top two vote-getters in those races will advance to the citywide General Election, at which point Districts 2 and 6 will also be on the ballot.
The top two vote-getters in the mayoral race will also advance to the General Election on Nov. 2. Still, because the Primary is already open citywide, a candidate could forego the General if they receive more than 50% of the Primary vote, an unlikelihood considering the crowded field.