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Election Day Live Updates: Three Out Of Four School Board Incumbents Retain Their Seats, Others Head To Runoff Elections

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MATIAS J. OCNER
/
Miami Herald

Have questions about the August 18 Florida primary election? We have answers that we'll update through Election Day.

This post will be updated Aug. 18, and through Election Day.

Seeing anything at the polls that you want to tell us about? Email us at talktous@wlrnnews.org.

QUICK UPDATES

Three Out Of Four School Board Incumbents Retain Their Seats, Others Head To Runoff Elections

Updated Wednesday at 12:57 a.m.

Three South Florida school board incumbents held onto their seats during Tuesday’s elections, but one was defeated by a challenger.

Miami-Dade’s Lubby Navarro, and Palm Beach County’s Frank Barbieri, Jr., and Barbara McQuinn are safe.

Broward School Board Member Heather Brinkworth lost her seat to Sarah Leonardi, a teacher who was endorsed by the local teachers’ union. Leonardi ended up with more than 52% of the vote in a district that includes Fort Lauderdale, Oakland Park and Wilton Manors.

Alexandria Marie Ayala won her race for an open seat on the Palm Beach County school board outright. The 27-year-old Puerto Rican woman has worked in Democratic politics.

Meanwhile, a race for an open spot in Broward — and a third of the seats on the Miami-Dade school board — will be decided in November.

Debra Hixon is leading in the contest for the Broward county-wide seat. She’s a 31-year teacher and the widow of Chris Hixon, a coach who was killed during the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She’ll go head to head with another longtime educator, Jeff Holness, who is a cousin of Broward County Mayor Dale Holness and was endorsed by the county’s Black Democratic Caucus.

Lucia Baez-Geller and Russ Rywell, both teachers at Miami Beach Senior High School, will compete in November for the Miami-Dade district that stretches from Aventura down to the beaches.

Christi Fraga and Mara Zapata are in a very tight race for the Miami-Dade school board seat that includes two municipalities where they have already served as elected officials. Fraga is vice mayor of Doral, and Zapata is former vice mayor of Miami Springs.

And the race for the southern part of the county, including Pinecrest and Homestead, is down to term-limited city commissioner Dennis Moss and entrepreneur Luisa Santos.

Broward Supervisor of Elections Shaping Up For Recount

Updated Tuesday at 11:45 p.m.

In a crowded race with no incumbent Joe Scott has a narrow lead over Chad Klitzman for the next Supervisor of Elections in Broward County.

As of 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, Scott had 24.80 percent of the votes, while Klitzman had 24.56 percent of the votes. If the race stays that close as the rest of the ballots are finished being counted, then it will likely go to a recount later this week and into the weekend.

Whoever wins the Democratic primary is favored to beat Republican candidate Catherine McBreen in the Nov. 3 general election, because of Broward's Democratic leaning. The canvassing board has agreed to meet again at 3 p.m. Thursday. The public can view through a Zoom meeting at the supervisor of elections website.

After an issue with one machine’s jump drive at a precinct in Coconut Creek, there are still votes to hand count on Wednesday.

— Caitie Switalski/WLRN News

Three Women Bonded By Parkland Shooting Poised To Win Primary Races

Updated Tuesday at 11:30 p.m.

Three figures who have stood out for their response to the 2018 school shooting in Parkland could be moving into more powerful positions after Tuesday’s elections.

Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky sailed to victory in her race for a new job in the Florida House of Representatives. She has worked to increase access to mental health care in her city after the school shooting there in 2018.

“We will be forever impacted by that,” Hunschofsky said on Tuesday night. “How we choose to move forward is to make a difference wherever we can and to never forget that policy is personal.”

Hunschofsky defeated Saima Farooqui, who was inspired to run after the shooting and made school safety part of her campaign platform. She was running to become the first Muslim elected to the Florida Legislature.

In November, Hunschofsky will face a write-in candidate who has not raised money for a campaign. The House district she is vying to represent was led previously by Kristin Jacobs, who died of cancer in April.

“It's been a very emotional day,” Hunschofsky said. “Representative Jacobs was my friend, and I'm sorry that she's not here today."

Meanwhile, Broward school board member Robin Bartleman also won a primary for a House seat. She will face Republican George Navarini in the Nov. 3 general election. Bartleman has been a vocal critic of Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie’s response to the Parkland shooting.

Debra Hixon is in the lead to replace Bartleman. Hixon is a veteran educator, and her late husband Chris was a beloved wrestling coach who was killed while trying to save students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She has been an outspoken advocate against arming teachers.

Hixon said the shooting brought her, Bartleman and Hunschofksy together.

“We're all three very strong women that just want to do the right thing and are passionate about doing it, and the county recognizes that,” she said Tuesday night.

Hixon is headed for a November runoff against another veteran teacher: Jeff Holness.

Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Wendy Sartory Link Wins Full Term

Updated Tuesday at 11 p.m.

Palm Beach County's Supervisor of Elections Wendy Sartory Link won her first full term in the position, according to unofficial results Tuesday night. Link was previously appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and will serve a four-year term. She defeated Democratic challenger Paulette Armstead, an attorney and former St. Petersburg Deputy Police Chief.

After issues with voting machines and recount procedures during the 2018 general midterm election, former supervisor of elections Susan Bucher was removed by DeSantis and eventually replaced by Link.

A Third Of Keys Voters Have Already Cast Their Ballots

Updated at 10:50 a.m.

By 8 a.m. Tuesday, 287 voters had voted at the polls in Monroe County, according to Elections Supervisor Joyce Griffin.

That brought the total turnout — including vote by mail and early voting — to 33 percent.

Candidates and their supporters were holding signs at street corners in Key West. Mayor Teri Johnston was set up at the corner of White and United Streets, across from City Hall.

On the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which ensured women could vote everywhere in the U.S., Johnston is running to be the first female mayor to be re-elected in the southernmost city.

Johnston is the second woman mayor in the city's 192-year history, but the first, Sheila Mullins, failed in her re-election bid.

Johnston said the pandemic made this a very different campaign from her previous bids for mayor and city commissioner.

"Night and day," she said. "Normally in a campaign you're out there, you're knocking on doors, you're shaking hands, you're hugging, you're kissing babies. You're having major events. It just was not a healthy environment to do that."

Johnston's actions during the pandemic have been a major issue in the campaign. Key West requires everyone to wear face coverings whenever they're away from home, except for when seated and eating or drinking at a restaurant.

-Nancy Klingener/WLRN News

Where's My Polling Place And How Do I Drop Off My Mail Ballot?

Updated Tuesday at 6:30 a.m.

Today is the big day in South Florida. Several races will be decided and others will set the stage for the November general election. Polls open at 7 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m.

Below are the polling places in the four South Florida counties. These locations will differ from the early voting period so, if you're unsure about where you should cast your vote, check your voter registration card or check your county's supervisor of elections website then search for your voter information to confirm your polling place.

Here are the lists for each county:

Where can I hand in my mail ballot?

Below is a list of the various locations where you can drop off your ballot across South Florida.

  • In Miami-Dade, it’s in Doral — 2700 NW 87th Ave. or the government center in downtown Miami — 111 NW 1st St. There will also be boxes at the North Dade Regional Library in Miami Gardens — NW 2455 NW 183rd St. — and the South Dade Regional Library in Cutler Bay — 10750 SW 211 St.
  • In Broward, that’ll be in Fort Lauderdale — 115 S. Andrews Ave., Room 102.
  • In Palm Beach, you can take it to any of the county’s elections offices which you can find at the bottom of this page.
  • In Monroe that’s in Key West — 530 Whitehead St. #101, Marathon — 10015 Overseas Hwy., or Key Largo — 102050 Overseas Hwy #137.

What if I requested a mail ballot but I want to vote today?

You can still do that but you have to bring your mail ballot with you when you vote so the elections department can confirm that you didn't send it in and cancel your mail ballot.

And what if I sent a mail ballot already and want to check if it was counted?

You can do that through your county's supervisor of elections website by entering your voter information at the following links:

— WLRN News