What is the ballot question?
“Modernization of Sun Life Stadium used by Dolphins and Hurricanes. Resolution 279-13 proposes using 7,500,000 dollars a year, adjusted annually for growth, from additional tourist room taxes to be levied to modernize stadium conditioned on:
• Dolphins’ remaining long-term in county;
• Private funding for majority of costs;
• Stadium owners paying county at least 112,000,000 dollars in 30 years;
• Stadium owners paying penalties up to 120,000,000 dollars for not bringing premier football and soccer events to stadium; and
Award, in May 2013, of Super Bowl.
For the proposed use ___
Against the proposed use ___”
In short, if you want to raise the hotel-tax rate to give most of that money to the Dolphins, vote “for” — the first option. If you oppose the proposal, vote “against” — the second option.
Are there any concerns about the ballot language?
Two county commissioners, suggesting the language favors the Dolphins, have said it would be better for the question to specify the increase in the hotel-tax rate to 7 percent from 6 percent, instead of saying “additional tourist room taxes.” They tried to amend the language, but failed. The mayor said county attorneys wrote the language to “accurately” reflect the deal.
Is the referendum binding?
Yes. If Miami-Dade voters reject the proposal, the deal is off.
So the referendum is definitely happening?
No. It will only happen if Florida lawmakers, who meet through May 3, approve state legislation allowing Miami-Dade to raise the hotel-tax rate, and if Gov. Rick Scott lets that legislation stand. Both need to happen, or the referendum would be canceled. The results of any ballots cast up to that point would not be published.
How much is the election going to cost?
The Dolphins paid the county $4,784,337 by check Friday to pay for the election. The payment is nonrefundable, so the county keeps the money even if it ends up canceling the election. At the request of the mayor, the Florida division of elections opined this month that the Dolphins could cover the elections cost, even though they are a private entity.
When will the referendum take place?
Election Day is Tuesday, May 14. Miami-Dade voters will be able to cast ballots from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at their usual precincts.
Will early voting be available?
Yes. Two weeks of early voting will begin April 29 following this schedule: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 29 through May 3, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 4, 1 to 5 p.m. May 5, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 6 through 10, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 11, and 1 to 5 p.m. May 12. Twenty early-voting sites will be open.
What about absentee voting?
Yes. Overseas ballots will be mailed beginning Tuesday, and domestic ballots beginning April 23.
What if I’m not registered to vote in Miami-Dade County?
You have until Monday to register. You are eligible if you are at least 18, a U.S. citizen and a permanent Miami-Dade County resident. If you register online at www.miamidade.gov/elections, your signed form must be mailed to the elections department and postmarked by Monday.
Prospective voters can also register in person at the department’s Doral headquarters, 2700 NW 87th Ave. The office will remain open until midnight Monday. Several other locations that accept registration forms will be open until 5 p.m. Monday: the elections department’s County Hall branch office at 111 NW First St., public libraries, most city halls, state public assistance agencies and Florida driver license bureaus. For more information, call 305-499-VOTE (8683).
Miami Herald staff writer Douglas Hanks contributed to this report.