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Election Day updates: The winners, the losers and the votes that are still being counted

People cast votes at a ballot
Miami Herald FILE
Voters in South Florida will decide crucial races on Tuesday.

This post was last updated on Nov. 5.

Vote lead continues to change in Florida U.S. congressional primary recount

Updated Friday, Nov. 5, at 5 p.m.

After a machine recount, the Democratic primary for Florida’s 20th congressional district appeared to narrow but now has extended just a bit for one of the hopefuls.

Friday afternoon, Candidate Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick lost one single vote from her lead over Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness in the recount in Broward County, while the numbers stayed flat in Palm Beach.

That vote was later counted in her favor, and by early Friday evening Cherfilus-McCormick maintained a five-vote lead. Vote counting will continue next week.

Read the full story here.

— Daniel Rivero

Winner of 20th congressional district GOP primary, a former felon, never applied for right to hold office

Updated Thursday, Nov. 4, at 3:12 p.m.

The winning Republican in this week’s congressional primary in South Florida is a convicted felon who did not go through the state’s process to restore his civil rights after his imprisonment, interviews and records show. That step is required under Florida law for a candidate to hold political office.

Jason Mariner, 36, of Palm Beach Gardens, an advertising executive and self-described “America First” conservative candidate, won Tuesday’s GOP primary with 58 percent of votes in the heavily Democratic 20th congressional district.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the election’s outcome would be challenged. The general election will be Jan. 11. Democrats have held the seat – one of the most Democratic districts in Florida – for more than two decades.

Read the full story here.

— Corbin Boiles/Fresh Take Florida

City of Miami voters reject Virginia Key marina referendum

Updated Tuesday at 10:40 p.m.

Miami voters rejected a referendum that would have allowed the city to waive competitive bidding and negotiate a 75-year lease with the longtime operator of the Virginia Key marina.

City Commissioner Ken Russell had proposed putting the issue before voters after commissioners twice rejected the winning bid selected by city staff.

"The main one for me has been that the winner of the first and second bid included contractors and partners and developers who were guilty of the largest contamination spills in our bay's history," he said. "That should carry a pretty significant weight when it comes to whether the scoring was done correctly."

RCI Marine was part of a team in 2000 that ruptured a sewer line that spilled hundreds of thousands of gallons of raw sewage and shut down beaches from Cape Florida to Mid Beach.

In addition to the marina, Virginia Key includes a critical wildlife area that protects manatees and nesting wading birds. Sea turtles also nest on its beaches.

"It's been very frustrating to watch the stagnation of what should be pretty simple processes atrophy and die on the vine," said Russell. "And so for me, this is a bit, yeah, I'm coming to the end of my term. This is a major asset, a city I'd love to have a decision making part, having shepherded it this far to see that it gets redeveloped in a healthy and environmentally responsible way.

He says the deal will now likely go through another round of bidding, or come back to voters in another election.

— Jenny Staletovich

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber wins reelection, as 2 a.m. alcohol rollback also gets support from voters

Updated Tuesday at 10:38 p.m.

Miami Beach residents have voted to reelect Dan Gelber as mayor for what will be his third consecutive term as mayor. Legally he’s not eligible to run again.

Gelber spoke at a campaign event Tuesday night, at a hotel in South Beach — an area of the city he said he will focus on.

"This entertainment district has to go. We need this to be really what the city should be," said Gelber. "Should be a place that’s beautiful, that’s a cultural experience, that’s inviting to all people. Not just sort of hard partiers all night long."

Voters also supported a ban on alcohol sales after 2 a.m. Last call is currently 5 a.m.

This vote a non-binding poll and Gelber expects it to come up in the next commission meeting, or soon after that meeting.

Read the full story here.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez easily wins reelection, prepares to head to COP26 in Glasgow

Updated Tuesday at 10:15 p.m.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez easily won a second term Tuesday, taking nearly 80% of the vote in an election that drew just over 14% of the city’s registered voters.

Commissioner Jeffrey Watson lost his race, with attorney Christine King winning just over 65% of the votes for the District 5 seat. Two-term former mayor Joe Carollo also handily won a second term in the District 3 seat with nearly 65% of the vote.

During his election night party at The Wharf, along the Miami River, Suarez said one of his first orders of business will be climate change. He will head to Glasgow this week for the United Nations International Climate Conference.

“It's not just an agenda for Miami, it's an agenda for this country, and cities have a very vital role to play,” he said. “Eighty-five percent of the population of America is in cities and 91 percent of the GDP. So cities have a crucial role in making sure that we decarbonize our environment.”

Read the full story here.

Effort to incorporate Biscayne Gardens as Miami-Dade's newest city fails

Updated Tuesday at 8:38 p.m.

Residents overwhelmingly voted against incorporating Biscayne Gardens as the 35th municipality in Miami-Dade County, based on unofficial results from Tuesday night.

Elizabeth Judd was in favor of incorporation. The 80-year-old activist has lived in Biscayne Gardens for almost 30 years. She spent Election Day encouraging her neighbors to vote for what she described as more self-determination within the county.

“Nobody owes you a great community. That's something you have to be a participant in, not only in terms of your activism, but in terms of bearing this expense," she said earlier on Election Day.

Other residents feared higher tax rates, even if it meant establishing more control over issues like zoning and policing.

— Elisa Baena

Former County Commissioner Bovo poised to win Hialeah mayoral seat, in heated race

Updated Tuesday at 8:30 p.m.

By Tuesday evening, former County Commissioner Esteban "Steve" Bovo looked poised to secure the mayoral seat in Hialeah. With a majority of precincts reporting, he received about 59% of votes in the mayor's race.

In the last hour of voting outside of the John F. Kennedy Library in Hialeah, the scene was still full of colorful and vocal volunteers for the different mayoral campaigns cheering their support.

“Bovo! Bovo! Bovo!” was met with counter remarks from other campaigns, including “Bovo, a traitor!” in Spanish.

Elizabeth Jeanty, 39, spent all day outside of the library volunteering for Bovo’s campaign. She said in her opinion Bovo is the only person on the ballot that is genuine and straight to the point.

“He doesn’t cut corners or try and make it political,” she said. “We support people that have experience and are willing to really help the community. At this point, I think we need a change in Hialeah. Esteban Bovo can do it.”

Jeanty said that regardless of the outcome she wants the new mayor to not provide broken promises.

“We need someone that is legit, someone that doesn’t have time to pretend to have a position, someone that’s going to do the job," she said.

Juliet Alonso, and Daniel Ferrer, 8 and 10 years old respectively, were passing out flyers for Fernando Godo. Juliet says her dad has taught her the importance of participating in democracy.

“He wants me to do this, so that I can know better when I grow up,” she said.

Her father, Maykel Alonso, was also at the polls, but as a poll watcher.

“Where we came from we did not have the opportunity to vote … it is very important to me to teach her appreciation for what we have,” he said. “Voting is a right, it should not be taken for granted.”

— Natalia Clement

Marathon voters re-elect incumbent and a newcomer to council

Updated Tuesday at 7:40 p.m.

In the Middle Keys city of Marathon, the incumbent mayor was re-elected and a local mail carrier was elected to his first term on the five-member council.

Luis A. Gonzalez was the top vote-getter in the four-person race. Trevor Wofsey came in second.

The top two won the open at-large seats on the council. Marathon is the second-largest city in the Keys with a population of 8,700 people. It stretches over seven islands from Grassy Key to the Seven Mile Bridge.

— Nancy Klingener

Miami Beach voters mixed on 2 a.m. rollback

Updated Tuesday at 4:10 p.m.

In Miami Beach, rain didn’t stop resident Natalie Zigel from casting her ballot this afternoon.

"How can I expect change if I don’t make the effort to come out and say something," said Zigel, who's lived in Miami Beach for more than 20 years. She said she wants to keep Dan Gelber as mayor and supports his push to ban alcohol sales at nightclubs and bars after 2 a.m. instead of 5 a.m. — Zigel added that she's seen South Beach become unwelcoming to residents.

"It’s been really upsetting to see the changes," she said outside of City Hall. "I don’t see any other options for doing it. So we need to stay safe and we need to keep it a place that people feel good about going to. Not just tourists."

Fabian Basabe, a former commission candidate who was disqualified, voted against the 2 a.m. ban.

"People that drink too much, they maybe dance on top of a table. Maybe they fall down. Maybe they say something inappropriate," he said. "They don’t get a gun and shoot into the sky. Let’s just say that you say 'OK, no more drinking after 2. How are you going to address the drugs?'"

The 2 a.m. referendum is a non-binding straw poll question. Elected officials will gage its popularity and then decide whether to enact the last call change.

Supporters say the image of South Beach’s entertainment district as a late night party zone is making the area intolerable, while opponents say the hospitality industry will lose lots of money and say the crime isn’t caused by bar patrons on Ocean Drive.

Polling places will close at 7 p.m.

— Verónica Zaragovia

Small but steady stream of voters in Miami's District 3

Updated Tuesday at 2 p.m.

On a rainy morning a small but steady trickle of voters filed into the Shenandoah Branch Library in Miami to vote for the municipal elections there.

For one question on the ballot there was near unanimity in the voters polled: they would support Mayor Francis Suarez in his bid for reelection, largely owing to his campaign to attract tech companies to the city.

A single voter said she would not support the reelection effort, opting to vote for Mayra Joli, a Republican who has consistently mounted campaigns for a congressional race and in Coral Gables.

"We want something new, something fresh. Not the same old thing,” said Alicia Garcia. "The political situation is not good right now in this country."

Votes cast for Joli will not count after a judge's ruling over her residency.

The sharpest differences of opinion came down to the race for the District 3 commission seat, currently occupied by longtime city hall presence, and two-time former mayor Joe Carollo.

Carollo has increasingly gained attention for successfully spearheading the ouster of former Police Chief Art Acevedo, and for recently suggesting residents “adopt” homeless residents.

That suggestion drew ire from activists, but last week Carollo succeeded in pushing through an ordinance that made some forms of homeless encampments illegal. Residents experiencing homelessness can now be arrested if they have been offered and refuse a shelter bed.

But for Silver Bluff resident Kenneth Pardo, neither of those reasons motivated him to vote against Carollo. Rather, it was a series of “temporary” but long-standing road closures that have gone up across the Silver Bluff neighborhood, with Carollo’s support.

"Now I live in a dead-end street, so it’s impacting the entire building,” said Pardo. "The only way in is a much more heavily congested Coral Way.”

He said the closures have become the talk of his apartment building near the intersection of Southwest 17th Avenue and Coral Way.

“We see it every day. We have flashing police lights in our windows every night,” he said. For his part, Pardo said he would be voting for candidate Quinn Smith, who has been endorsed by the Miami-Dade Democratic Party.

"Just because someone’s been around for a long time doesn’t mean they’re the right thing,” he said. "Sometimes change is needed. So hopefully, I mean — people gotta vote."

Javier Prado said he is largely happy with the city government and how it has handled the coronavirus pandemic, but said he has taken to personally disliking Commissioner Carollo and his outspoken persona.

"Joe Carollo seems a little whacky with his ideas, and I think Quinn was just far too left for me to vote for,” said Prado. “I think Miguel Soliman is the best for that seat.”

Carollo fundraised far more than all of his opponents combined, and is largely favored to pull the most votes. But if he doesn’t push past 50% of votes, the District 3 race will go into a run-off election on Nov. 16.

A few voters said they would support Carollo in the race, but they declined to be quoted.

Resident Lucan Hernandez lives in District 4 and could only vote for the mayoral race. He opted to vote for Suarez, but said he really hopes to see different faces in the city commission. The city has a weak mayor system, meaning that the mayor holds very little sway over the direction of the city compared to the city manager.

The one thing the mayor has is the megaphone that can be wielded to market and promote the city, said Hernandez, something Suarez has done well.

His frustrations with city government, he said, entirely lie with the city commission.

“The commission is ultimately responsible for making the legislative action,” said Hernandez. “To be taken seriously as a city of the future, as a tech hub, it’s important to have serious policymaking choices. And I haven’t seen a lot of smart policy.”

— Daniel Rivero

Broward sees low turnout, especially in early voting

Updated Tuesday at 12:50 p.m.

Broward County Supervisor of Elections Joe Scott says turnout for early voting was disappointing: fewer than 5,000 people.

Scott says as of 11 a.m. Tuesday, about 23,000 people had submitted a mail-in ballot:

"Past cycles, we've seen it be a lot more even between voting by mail and early voting. It seems that early voting just really fell off, and a lot more people are adopting vote by mail," he said.

Scott said people still have a chance to drop off their ballots Tuesday.

"We have five convenient locations for people to drop off their vote by mail-ballots if they have not already done so. More than any election that we've had here in Broward County before, we usually have two locations," he said.

Scott said about 15,000 people had voted in person Tuesday by 11 a.m.

— Sherrilyn Cabrera

Will Miami-Dade get a new municipality?

Updated Tuesday at 12:30 p.m.

The push to incorporate Biscayne Gardens as its own municipality, one of several items on today's Election Day ballot, is all about control.

"You have some leaders in the area who say we need more local control over zoning decisions, over land use decisions. And that's all made by county commissioners, only one of which represents the area," said Douglas Hanks, the Miami Herald's County Hall reporter who has covered the incorporation effort. "But it's always the debate of, do you want more local control of the government, and are you willing to pay for it?"

If Biscayne Gardens does become a new city it could mean an increase in taxes and a change in input on things like development and other local services, that are currently handled by Miami-Dade County. But, Hanks says, it's hard to know for certain until after a municipality is actually incorporated.

"To a certain extent, that's a fortune-telling question that is at the heart of the election. I mean, it's not guaranteed they'll pay more taxes, but it's likely given past history," said Hanks. "What you really could see is a difference in land-use decisions. You could see more frequency on the street cleaning and kind of typical pothole issues.

"You know, the example of of all of these newly-formed cities shows the effect of incorporation, which is, there's demand for better local services. There's another layer of government to funds that cost more," he said.

— Alyssa Ramos

Where's my polling place and how do I drop off my mail ballot?

Updated Tuesday at 6 a.m.

Today is a big day in South Florida. There's no president or governor on the ballot but its Election Day for some of our region's biggest cities.

There's everything from ballot questions to council, commission and mayoral races, to the future of a U.S. congressional at play at polling places from Palm Beach County to Marathon.

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.

For voters in Broward and Palm Beach, this is also where you'll double check if you live in the district for the U.S. congressional primary.

Here are the lists for each county:

Can I still drop off my mail ballot?

Yes, but only at some specific places.

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

  • Broward
    • Elections headquarters: 115 S. Andrews Ave., Room 102 in Fort Lauderdale.
  • Miami-Dade
    • Election headquarters: 2700 NW 87th Ave. in Doral
  • Monroe
    • 10015 Overseas Hwy. in Marathon
  • Palm Beach
    • Main office: 240 South Military Trail in West Palm Beach
    • North County branch office: 3188 PGA Blvd. Rm. #2401 in Palm Beach Gardens
    • South County branch office: 345 South Congress Avenue Rm. #103 in Delray Beach
    • West County branch office: 2976 State Road #15, Second Floor in Belle Glade

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