Sheriff's Showdown Highlights Primary Election in Pinellas

Pinellas County voters go to the polls Aug. 14 for the Primary Election to decide the Republican nominee for sheriff as well as other state and local offices.

Pinellas County voters will .

The race between interim sheriff Bob Gualtieri and former sheriff is drawing local interest. The two veteran law enforcers are in a battle to be the GOP nominee for sheriff in November's general election.

Rice, 67, was Pinellas sheriff from 1988 to 2004 prior to .

He seeks to oust Gualtieri, , after Jim Coats retired.

The two squared off in several forums this summer, including , at the Unitarian Universalists Octagon Arts Center in Clearwater.

The winner in Tuesday's primary will face Democratic challenger Scott Swope and independent candidate Greg Pound, in the November general election.

Here is what you need to know to vote in the Primary Election, from the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections:


  • The deadline to register to vote and change political party affiliation was July 16 (29 days prior to the election).
  • Florida has closed primaries; only voters registered with a political party may vote in that party’s primary. 
    ALL registered voters may vote in nonpartisan races (school board and judicial).


  • Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.


  • State law requires that a citizen vote in theprecinct in which he/she resides. If you have moved, you are required to vote in your new home precinct.
  • Some polling place locations have changed. Voters are encouraged to confirm their polling places by visiting votepinellas.com or calling (727) 464-VOTE (8683).


  • Bring photo and signature identification with you to the polls if possible to avoid delays and extra paperwork. Anyone without valid and current ID may vote a provisional ballot. The canvassing board will later determine the validity of any provisional ballots.
  • change in election law now requires that address changes from another Florida county made at the polls will require the voter to vote a provisional ballot, except for active military voters and their families. Address changes may be made by calling 464-VOTE or emailing election@votepinellas.com; include date of birth.
  • Name and party changes may be made by sending a signed, written statement to the Supervisor of Elections; include date of birth or voter ID number. However, the deadline to make party changes for this election was July 16 (29 days prior to the election).
  • Any updates, including signatures, may be made by completing and signing a voter registration application, available at votepinellas.com, and returning it to the Supervisor of Elections.
  • It is important to have your current signature on file so that the signature on your mail ballot certificate envelope can be verified.


  • Mail ballots may be picked up or voted in person at any Elections Office through Election Day. Ballots must be received by 7 p.m. Aug. 14 at any of the three Elections Offices or ballot dropoff locations in order to be counted. Mail ballots cannot be accepted at a precinct polling place.
  • 14 Ballot dropoff locations are available through 7 p.m. on Election Day. Check votepinellas.com for locations and hours.
  • A voter who requests a mail ballot but later decides to vote at the polling place may bring his/her ballot to the polling place to be cancelled and then receive a new ballot to vote at the polls.


  • Sample ballots may be viewed at votepinellas.com.
  • No political activity or campaign signs are allowed inside the polling place or within 100 feet of the polling place entrance. Exit polling is permitted in designated areas as voters are leaving the polls.
  • No photography is allowed inside the polling place.
  • If you have any election-related questions, please call the Elections Office at (727) 464-VOTE (8683).
Sunde Farquhar August 13, 2012 at 02:18 PM
This is VERY important! Some polling place locations have changed. Voters are encouraged to confirm their polling places by visiting votepinellas.com or calling (727) 464-VOTE (8683).


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