Election Day Live Coverage: Polls Close In South Florida

Aug 28, 2018

Polling stations around South Florida opened this morning at 7 a.m. for Primary Election Day, when registered Republicans and Democrats choose their candidates for governor, agriculture commissionerattorney general and U.S. Congress. Local elections also include school board and judicial races. But turnout at many precincts throughout the morning appeared thin.

A little over 13 million Floridians registered to vote in the primary elections, according to the state Division of Elections. More than 400,000 South Florida residents had already cast their ballots before Aug. 28, according to local election authorities. 

Read more: Polls Open For Primary Election Day. Here's How To Check Your Voting Location

WLRN reporters have been deployed around South Florida to check how the process is developing. Here's what they are seeing in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Broward and Monroe counties.

You can also share with us what you see at your polling stations on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, using the hashtags #whyIprimary and #Floridaprimaries.

7 p.m. 

Polls close around South Florida. You can check the live election results in each of the counties here

6:07 p.m. 

At the Broward College South Campus, Laura Munoz (right), 24, of the Florida Immigrant Coalition is registering people to vote with her colleague.
Credit Andrea Perdomo

At the Broward College South Campus, Laura Munoz (right), 24, of the Florida Immigrant Coalition is registering people to vote with her colleague. She says although those who register today won't be able to participate in the primary election, they will be registered in time for the election in November.

"A lot of people that never got a chance to register realized today that they do not have the opportunity to vote...so we are out here today to help them realize that they still have an opportunity to have their voices heard."

-- Andrea Perdomo

5:11 p.m. 

A voting place at the Jack Orr Senior Center in Overtown.
Credit Danny Rivero

At my voting precinct, at the Jack Orr Senior Center in Overtown, a poll worker told me that the gate keeps shutting and locking and that he's seen some people walk away. I had to make some noise to get someone to open it up.

-- Danny Rivero

4:30 p.m. 

At the John F. Kennedy Library in Hialeah, Frida Villegas, 23, was supporting her mother, Elena Ortega-Tauler, who’s running for county judge in Miami. Villegas, a student at Florida International University, says she hasn't seen people her age voting.

“Hopefully, they will come out and support because at the end of the day, we’re the future of this country,” she says.

-- Teresa Frontado

4:20 p.m. 

Ann Murray has served as a school board member representing district one in Broward County since 2008.
Credit Andrea Perdomo

Ann Murray has served as a school board member representing District One in Broward County since 2008. She is outside of the South Regional/Broward College Library waiting to greet voters as they make their way to the polls.

Murray says its takes time for politicians to find their footing and establish relationships and connections that will help them be effective at their jobs. "Experience counts, and that's why I want to continue to run," she says. "My focus has always been on children's needs and that is what is most important."

-- Andrea Perdomo

3:43 p.m.

Libertarian Pierre Crevaux, the executive director of the Libertarian Party of Miami-Dade County, is out spreading the gospel about his third-party.
Credit Danny Rivero

Primary day is all about waving your red or blue flags. But don't tell that to a Libertarian. On Tuesday, Pierre Crevaux, executive director of the Libertarian Party of Miami-Dade County, is out spreading the gospel about his third-party.

"When I first came on board in 2013 we were nothing more than a few people meeting in a single room," said Crevaux. "Now we're counting eleven people as elected officials across Miami-Dade County and we’re hoping to get to fifteen by the end of the year."

The party is running two candidates today for the community council seats in Kendall and West Kendall. The council is basically a zoning board for unincorporated Miami-Dade County.

"We have 1,700 registered voters but the main problem with Florida law is because Florida is a closed primary state, many of our followers join other political parties like the Republican and Democratic parties, to have a voice in the primaries," said Crevaux. "If you actually count the amount of people that vote for our candidates in general elections, we can count up to 30 to 50,000 voters."

-- Danny Rivero

3:35 p.m.

Broward School Board candidate Lori Alhadeff greeted voters at the Parkland Recreation Center.
Credit Jessica Bakeman / WLRN News

In Parkland, Lori Alhadeff was campaigning for a seat on the Broward County school board. She was wearing a necklace engraved with a picture of her and her daughter Alyssa, who was killed last February in the mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School.

Ryan Petty, the father of another victim of the Parkland massacre, is also running for the school board. Alhadeff says she'll evaluate whether Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie is still qualified to continue in his position in the wake of the shooting.

-- Jessica Bakeman

3:17 p.m.

Jan Baker (left) and Anne Meredith in Key West
Credit Nancy Klingener / WLRN News

In Key West, Jan Baker and Anne Meredith came out to support mayoral candidate Teri Johnston - who according to Equality Florida would be the state's first lesbian mayor if she wins. Meredith said Key West is independent - but not isolated. "I think the election of 2016 kind of woke a lot of people up to - alright, you can't just sit back and think things will work out."

-- Nancy Klingener

2:57 p.m.

Rafael Albuquerque
Credit Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN News

Republican voter and Kendall resident Rafael Albuquerque came to the U.S. from Cuba 48 years ago after spending a decade in a prisoner camp on the communist island. He's been voting in U.S. elections for more than 20 years, and today voted for Ron DeSantis in the GOP gubernatorial primary - in no small part because he's also a fan of President Trump.

-- Lily Oppenheimer

2:39 p.m.

Credit Leslie Ovalle / WLRN News

Poll workers at the West Dade Regional Library precinct report an abundance of voters arriving there only to find out it is not their precinct.

-- Leslie Ovalle

2:26 p.m.

Candida Perez
Credit Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN News

Candida Perez not only votes diligently here in the U.S. - she also travels back for elections in her home country, the Dominican Republican. Outside the Doral Supervisor of Elections office, Perez said she voted for Andrew Gillum in the Democratic gubernatorial primary because she feels he's "new blood" who's not beholden to moneyed interests.

-- Lily Oppenheimer

1:59 p.m.

Linda and Mike Obel
Credit Katie Lepri / WLRN News

At the David Park Community Center in Hollywood, Linda and Mike Obel were campaigning for a friend running for local office - and said for they're voting for Gwen Graham in the Democratic primary for Governor. "I like her father [Bob Graham] and I remember when he was Governor," said Linda. "It was good." Mike said the polls had been quiet there, but he attributed that to heavy early voting.

--Katie Lepri

12:59 p.m. 

Music, campaign workers, in the parking lot of the JFK Library in Hialeah.
Credit Teresa Frontado / WLRN News

A whirlwind of activity greets voters as soon as they parked their car outside the JFK Library in Hialeah. At least two judicial candidates, Eleane Sosa-Bruzon and Elena Ortega-Tauler,  are doing some last minute campaigning here and greeting voters. There's music on loudspeakers and campaign workers 

"People say they never get to meet the candidates, so they get surprised and happy when they see me here," said Ortega-Tauler.

Her daughter, Frida Villegas, 23, said she hasn't seen people her age voting.  "Hopefully, they'll come out and support because at the end of the day, we are the future of this country."

Voter Yanitza Martinez, 36, made her way to the poll station. "I vote every single time. That's my right and I come to exercise it," she said.

Judicial candidate Eleane Sosa-Bruzon handed burgers to campaign workers in the JFK Library parking lot.
Credit Teresa Frontado / WLRN News

"I know without the community, particularly my Hialeah community, I wouldn't be where I am so I am here handing out cheeseburgers and shaking hands, handing out cards and taking the time to talk to everybody that's going to walk through those doors, " said Sosa-Bruzon, who was handing out sandwiches to campaign workers standing under the sun in the library's parking lot. 

Candido Cordero, campaign worker at the JFK Library in Hialeah.
Credit Teresa Frontado / WLRN News

"Aqui hay que estar como el muñeco, si no te anuncias nadie te compra [You have to be like a doll, if you don't promote yourself nobody will buy you]," said campaign worker Candido Cordero, who drove from Homestead today to support his candidate. "Me dicen el incansable. Mira el 'tan' que tengo de estar aquí por 10 días  [They call me tireless. Look at the tan I got by being here for 10 days]."

-- Teresa Frontado

12:45 p.m. 

Len Lynch
Credit Nadege Green / WLRN News

For some voters and non-voters, the 2016 presidential election continues to play a role in how they show up up to the polls today--or if they show up at all.

Jennifer Macaulay was pushing her son in a swing at Veteran’s Park in Delray Beach which is also a voting site. She says after Bernie Sanders didn’t secure the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, she lost faith in the system. So she isn’t voting anymore.

"It’s just giving credit to a system that I think is a complete joke," says Macaulay.

Len Lynch did vote at Veteran Park. This is his first year voting with no party affiliation. Before, the 76-year old was a life-long Republican.

He left the party after President Donald Trump was elected.

"I was just very upset at the mainstream Republican establishment who wouldn’t call him out on various issues he should be called out on," says Lynch. " He’s just a very vulgar man sitting in the White House."

Lynch says he voted for Palm Beach County judges and that he is headed to Washington D.C. to join a protest against President Trump.

-- Nadege Green 

Credit Leslie Ovalle / WLRN

11:49 a.m.

Grandparents for Gun Reform bring out their umbrellas as rain pours down at the Coral Gables Branch Library voting precinct. One member of the group, 79-year-old Steven Fishkin, is a longtime gun owner but said he's making gun regulation a key criterion for his vote. "I don't want my grandchildren in school learning and getting killed by a gun," Fishkin said. "The 2nd Amendment's great, but we have to bring it up to date in this century."

--Leslie Ovalle

11:15 a.m.

One of the big issues in the GOP primary race to replace Miami Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in the 27th District has been the journalism career of candidate Maria Elvira Salazar. One opponent, Stephen Marks, aired an attack ad against Salazar featuring  her interview with Fidel Castro - claiming it was too sympathetic to the late dictator. The ad was heavily - and critics say unfairly - edited. But it may have affected how Miami Republicans like Kendall resident Mike Macia voted.

Salazar "doesn't stand with the Republican Party," Macia said after casting his ballot at the Killian Pines United Methodist Church in Kendall. He voted instead for Bruno Barreiro.

Kendall voter Mike Macia

-Danny Rivero

11:07 a.m. 

Jeff Greene went to vote with his family.
Credit Caitie Switalski / WLRN News

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jeff Greene cast his vote inside Palm Beach's Central Fire Station. The poll was otherwise empty and a rainstorm is about to roll in.

-- Caitie Switalski

10:45 a.m. 

No lines at the polling station located at the Miami Springs Recreation Center.
Credit Teresa Frontado / WLRN News

By 10:40 am there were no lines on precinct 344 in Miami Springs. Poll workers reported more than 70 people had voted, a higher turnout than usual for primaries. They expect more people in the afternoon but kept checking the weather forecast. “If it starts raining, people won’t come,” said one of the workers. 

-- Teresa Frontado

10:31 a.m. 

Members of Grandparents for Gun Reform outside the Coral Gables Library.

Grandparents for Gun Reform are present at the Coral Gables Branch Library for Election Day on Tuesday, August 28. The organization formed at The Palace, an assisted living facility in the area, after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Members organized in shifts to be outside one of the biggest polling stations in Coral Gables and were handing handouts and holding signs reminding voters to chose candidates in favor of gun reform. 

-- Leslie Ovalle

10:22 a.m.

Credit Tom Hudson / WLRN News

Joe Cianciolo, 31, holds a sign supporting a Monroe County school board candidate as he tries to get the attention of drivers on the Overseas Highway outside a polling station in Islamorada. 

-- Tom Hudson

9:49 a.m. 

Credit Sammy Mack / WLRN News

Many signs but no in-person campaigning this morning at the polling station located at the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department in LeJeune. 

-- Sammy Mack

9:24 a.m. 

Credit Adrianne Gonzalez / WLRN News

A few people are trickling in and out of the polling station located at the Kendall Library. Most don' t belong to this precinct, they are asking for their correct voting location. 

-- Adrianne Gonzalez

7:00 a.m.

Credit Adrianne Gonzalez / WLRN News

Weather forecasts said it would be cloudy with a chance of rain, and Astrid Hernandez-Mesa was prepared for the worst.

This was her first day as an electioneer, canvassing votes for one of her preferred candidates outside the Kendall Branch Public Library voting precinct. She packed her lunch and a large water container, put on a visor and parked her lounge chair exactly 100 feet away from the entrance.

Mesa was the first to arrive to the polling site, aside from the poll employees. She had with her handfuls of handouts supporting the re-election of Republican State Representative Daniel Perez, and she was excited. 

“I like Daniel Perez because he's a Republican whos anti-abortion and wants to better the education in schools. That's what I find most important, we need to help the kids," said Mesa. 

She says she's proud to support Perez, but some voters are bothered by her canvassing. 

“One man aggressively refused the flyer, and practically yelled at me for representing the Republican party," said Mesa. 

Mesa doesn’t expect every voter to acknowledge her effort, or even vote for her preferred candidate. She says there’s no harm in wishing them a good day and thanking them for voting. 

Voter Adriana Mion accepted the flyer. She is voting Republican in every seat she can because she’s worried about immigration in the United States and believes Republicans have the answer.

“I think the President is doing a wonderful job. I understand because I’m an immigrant, but you have to come the right way to the United States. We did! I mean, I wish everyone could come but how much more can we take into this country­?” she said.

Mion’s uncle obtained a visa to work in the U.S. and saved enough money to bring his parents, sister, and Mion to live in the U.S. when she was a teenager. She says she believes her vote could help prevent illegal immigration.

Leading up to the primaries, voters had the chance to study each candidate based on areas of interest and political past, but not all voters checked their ballot based on research. Democrat Rossana Martinez based her vote solely on her judgment of "character." 

“I just want to get Trump out, so I want to vote Democrat all the way. That’s it. That’s the sole reason I am here. I’m just going to vote Democrat all the way,” said Martinez. 

-- Adrianne Gonzalez