Miami-Dade County

What you need to know to vote in Tuesday's county election in Miami, Miami Beach

Three candidates for Miami-Dade's District 5 commission race hold a mini debate on April 23 before the Miami Herald's Editorial Board. From left:  Eileen Higgins, Zoraida Barreiro, and Alex Diaz de la Portilla. The fourth candidate, Carlos Garin, did not attend. The special election to fill the seat is Tuesday, May 22.
Three candidates for Miami-Dade's District 5 commission race hold a mini debate on April 23 before the Miami Herald's Editorial Board. From left: Eileen Higgins, Zoraida Barreiro, and Alex Diaz de la Portilla. The fourth candidate, Carlos Garin, did not attend. The special election to fill the seat is Tuesday, May 22. dhanks@miamiherald.com

There's a rare occurrence in Miami-Dade politics happening Tuesday: an election to fill an open seat on the County Commission.

Bruno Barreiro resigned his District 5 seat March 31 to run for Congress, and the remaining commissioners voted to hold a special election to replace him. Early voting has been under way for about a week, but Election Day is Tuesday, May 22. Four candidates are running: Zoraida Barreiro, the ex-commissioner's wife; Alex Diaz de la Portilla, a former state senator; Carlos Garin, a television actor; and Eileen Higgins, a marketing executive.

Small, one-off elections like these can be particularly confusing because only a tiny slice of the electorate votes. District 5 has about 95,000 registered voters, roughly 7 percent of the county's voter total. The consequences could be significant: The winner will finish out Barreiro's remaining two years on the 13-seat commission and be well positioned to run for an additional two terms on a board where incumbents rarely lose.

carlos garin in studio.jpg
Carlos Garin, second from right, uses his hands to make a point during a taping of 'Preparen Apunten Voten' on América TeVé on Wednesday, May 9, 2018. He is a candidate for District 5 on the Miami-Dade County Commission. Two other candidates are in the studio with him: Eileen Higgins, left, and Alex Diaz de la Portilla, right. The moderator is Felix Guillermo. A fourth candidate, Zoraida Barreiro, did not attend the debate.

Here are some things to know for Election Day:

1. Am I in District 5?

If you live in Miami or Miami Beach, you might be. The district starts in the West Flagler area of Miami, runs through Little Havana and the Roads area, touching parts of Brickell and downtown before stretching across Biscayne Bay to envelop the harbor islands, all of South Beach, and parts of coastal Miami Beach to Normandy Drive.

To see a map of the district, click here. To match your home address with one of the 13 County Commission districts, click here.

2. Who can vote?

Any registered voter in District 5. All candidates are running in the same election for the nonpartisan commission seat.

3. When can I vote?

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

barreiro
Former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro during a 2015 meeting. He resigned his seat on March 30 to run for Congress, creating a vacancy that has to be filled by special election. Miami-Dade called the election for May 22. Pedro Portal pportal@miamiherald.com

4. Where do I vote?

Probably where you voted on the last Election Day. There are 34 polling places in District 5 for the special election. For a list of locations, click here.

5. The person with the most votes wins?

Not necessarily. If one of the candidates takes more than 50 percent of the vote, that person wins the election. If not, the top two finishers will compete in a runoff election scheduled for Tuesday, June 19.

6. How unusual is a special election for the County Commission?

It's pretty unusual. There were two special elections in 2011 to fill commission seats: District 13, to replace Natacha Seijas, who was ousted in a recall vote that year; and District 7, to replace Carlos Gimenez, who resigned to run for mayor in the same special election called to replace Carlos Alvarez, who voters also recalled.

7. I am reading this on Monday. Can I still vote early?

No. The final day for that was on Sunday.

8. Where can I find more information about the candidates?

The Miami Herald published profiles of each candidate, and they are linked below.

The candidates are:

Zoraida Barreiro

Age: 50

Education: Bachelor of Arts in business administration, Florida International University

Birthplace: Cuba

Neighborhood: The Roads in Miami

Website: zoraidabarreiro.com

Alex Diaz de la Portilla

Age: 53

Education: Attended the University of Miami

Birthplace: Miami

Neighborhood: The Roads

Website: www.facebook.com/AlexDLP05/

Carlos Garin

Age: 53

Education: Marketing courses in a United Nations education program and an acting program at the Havana Arts Institute

Birthplace: Havana, Cuba

Neighborhood: Brickell

Website: voteforcarlosgarin.com



Eileen Higgins
Age: 53


Education: Bachelor of Science, University of New Mexico; Masters of Business Administration, Cornell University


Born: Dayton, Ohio


Neighborhood: Downtown Miami


Website: eileenhiggins.com
  Comments