There are indications overall turnout for Tuesday’s mayoral primary in Key Biscayne could go upward of 30%, based on historical patterns and ballots that have been cast so far. Those numbers, while low, are above average for primary elections and far higher than the current Miami-Dade County turnout of 12.4% so far.
By midday Monday, some 20% of the island’s 8,015 voters had either sent in mail ballots or voted early. The question candidates and political groupies are asking — how many will vote in person on Tuesday for either Fausto Gomez, Joe Rasco, or Katie Petros?
Nationally, election-day voting has been declining, with more and more people opting for the convenience of early voting and mail balloting.
Recent history in Key Biscayne suggests that as much as 40% of electorate could cast ballots Tuesday, based on the most recent comparable primary, the August 2018 vote, also a gubernatorial election year. However, there were no Key Biscayne municipal offices on the ballot.
As an example, 41% of Rick Scott’s Key Biscayne votes in the U.S. Senate race came on election day. The same was true for Democratic attorney general candidate Sean Shaw. About 43% of his Key Biscayne votes came on election day.
If that percentage were to hold for the mayoral race, it could mean another 1,000 people might vote in person Tuesday, bringing the total vote to just under 2,600, or about 32% of registered voters. That number, if achieved, would be considered a very high turnout for a municipal primary.
Also a factor — a substantial number of mail ballots that have yet to be returned to the Elections Department. As of the 16th, there were 2,048 unreturned Key Biscayne ballots, the department said. Officials couldn’t provide a more recent figure. Countywide, more than 400,000 mail ballots have been sent out with only 136,000 returned.
Voters who haven’t mailed their ballots cannot take them to the Key Biscayne Community Center polling location, but they can be issued a new ballot and vote in person, officials said.
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Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.