Tuesday is Election Day for four Miami-Dade cities.
Voters will decide on elected officials and referendums in Miami, Miami Beach, Hialeah and Homestead. If you need your polling location, click here.
Stay tuned for updates on this blog today as Miami Herald journalists report from the polls.
4:45 p.m. NORMANDY POOL, NORTH BEACH
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Reporter Elizabeth Koh said more visitors are there for the pool than for the polls.
Still, a few voters shared their thoughts.
Kym Quidiello, 37, said he was frustrated by the choice of candidates on the ballot. "They all seemed kind of wealthy and corporate," he said. "I didn't find anyone who seemed to be for the people."
Quidiello, who works in IT, said he had hoped for a candidate who would focus on local issues like parking and public transportation to the Beach. He voted no on the Ocean Terrace question.
"I don't mind them refurbishing the area but they don't have to build luxury condos," he said, citing higher housing costs and displaced residents.
Quidiello also voted for David Wieder in the race for mayor, in part because of the uptick in parking rates. The rise, he said, disproportionately affected lower-paid workers who have to commute to jobs in the Beach daily.
Yiliam and Peter Eldridge, ten-year residents of Miami Beach, arrived around 4:20 p.m. to cast their votes for Levine, they said. "We like what he's done for the city," Peter Eldridge said.
"So far he's the best," Yiliam Eldridge agreed.
Though they said they were ambivalent about commission candidates — "I wasn't super excited about anybody," said Peter — both voted yes on the Ocean Terrace question.
4:30 p.m. REBECCA TOWERS, SOUTH BEACH
A few seniors told reporter Debora Lima that they supported Levine and they felt transportation was a crucial issue for the congested streets of Miami Beach.
Norma Brito, 73, said in Spanish, that the complaints of residents of Rebecca Towers regarding inefficient transportation "have fallen on deaf ears." They've been advocating for change for years, and nothing has been done. "It's still the same garbage," she said.
She didn’t want to share here choices for commission, but she did vote for Levine.
“He is wonderful,” she said.
4 p.m. HIALEAH ELECTIONS
At around midday, el Nuevo reporter Enrique Flor tweeted that only 49 voters had come out to vote at the JFK Library in Hialeah.
3 p.m. MIAMI BEACH ELECTIONS
In 2013, about 25 percent of Beach voters turned out for the elections. About 11,379 ballots were cast.
That ballot was loaded with several hotly-contested races and a straw poll question on medical marijuana (where 64 percent of voters said yes). This year’s turnout could be lower.
Here are links to our coverage of the different candidates and ballot questions:
▪ Mayor’s race betwen incumbent Philip Levine and David Wieder
▪ Group 4 race with six candidates that will likely go to a runoff: Michael DeFilippi, Scott Diffenderfer, Isaiah Mosley, Jonathan Parker, Betsy Perez and Kristen Rosen Gonzalez.
▪ Group 5 race between Ricky Arriola and Mark Weithorn
▪ Group 6 race between John Elizabeth Aleman and Mark Samuelian
▪ Ballot question on cleaning up charter language regarding Redevelopment Agency board
▪ Ballot question on whether to approve zoning change in Ocean Terrace that would allow developer to have a higher maximum square footage (increase in FAR, or floor-area ratio).
1 p.m. HOMESTEAD ELECTIONS
Homestead reporter Monique O. Madan tweets that turnout appears to be low today.
12:45 p.m. NAUTILUS MIDDLE SCHOOL, MID-BEACH
Downpour forced candidates and campaigners to use their signs as umbrellas.
Commission candidate Kristen Rosen Gonzalez is here, and mayoral challenger David Wieder came by earlier.
Developer Sandor Scher is here with supporters asking people here to vote yes on the Ocean Terrace question. He wants to redevelop the area by tearing down 11 of 13 historic buildings on the north block of the North Beach street and building a new hotel/condo complex with retail shops. The consensus among the community is that Ocean Terrace needs rejuvenation, but there's disagreement about how.
Longtime activist Bob Kunst came to vote here. He didn’t want to share which candidates garnered his vote, like most voters. But he did say yes to the Ocean Terrace question after a conversation with Scher changed his mind on the way in.
Kunst did express displeasure with the state of development on the Beach, particularly in neighborhoods. Upset about older homes being demolished in favor of “big boxes,” he wishes to see more homes built in context with their surrounding homes. He supports a Coral Gables-style approach to home demolitions, where each demolition request is reviewed by the city’s Historic Preservation Board.
To him, size and color is a big deal.
“We’re in the tropics,” he said. “We want some color.”
11:45 a.m. NAUTILUS MIDDLE SCHOOL, MID-BEACH
Several candidates are standing outside this precinct stumping and catching voters as they walk in.
Candidates Ricky Arriola, John Elizabeth Aleman and Betsy Perez are here. They all have the same campaign consultant, David Custin, who is also a prominent lobbyist in the Beach. Custin's also a poll watcher who was here earlier.
Voters have been flowing in throughout the morning.
Anamarie Garces, 35, came to vote with her four-month-old boy. She voted yes on the Ocean Terrace question because she believes the development will help the North Beach neighborhood.
An appropriate amount of development, she said, will add to the flavor of Miami Beach.
"To get the right flavor, you need to get the right mix of ingredients," she said.
11:00 a.m. CITY OF MIAMI ELECTIONS
Miami voters from Coconut Grove to Morningside are choosing a new District 2 city commissioner today, while voters in Allapattah are deciding whether to stick with their current District 1 commissioner or give him the boot. (District 4 Commissioner Francis Suarez was also up for reelection this fall, but no one filed to oppose him.)
Heading into the weekend, expectations were that few of the 71,000 voters in the two districts would participate in the election. But the latest early voting totals and absentee returns suggest there may be more voter involvement than four years ago, the last time voters in the two districts went to the polls strictly to vote on their city commission representative. As of 12:30 p.m. Monday, 6,600 votes had been cast in the two races, an increase of about 1,000 votes from the same period four years ago, according to figures provided by the city clerk’s office and elections department.
That tally may reflect an increase in voter participation. It may also reflect 50 percent or more of the votes ultimately cast in the two races. But there’s still time to vote: For a list of polling places and addresses, click here and, if your precinct has moved to a temporary location, here.
Here’s a primer, for those looking to hit the polls during their lunch break, or after work. In District 2, voters are choosing among three frontrunners: Ken Russell, Teresa Sarnoff, and Grace Solares. Six others are in the race: Williams Armbrister, Javier Gonzalez, Rosa Palomino, Mike Simpson, Seth Sklarey and Lorry Woods.
In District 1, incumbent Commissioner Wifredo “Willy” Gort is running against challenger Miguel Gabela.
In Miami, a candidate must win more than 50 percent of the general election vote to win outright, so there may be a Nov. 17 runoff election in District 2.
9:30 a.m. MIAMI BEACH CITY HALL
It's been a quiet morning at City Hall, which is usually busier during early voting.
The Beach's clerk reports that 2,868 residents voted early this year. That's a little less than the total before Election Day 2013, when 2,971 cast ballots early.
8:30 a.m. REBECCA TOWERS, SOUTH BEACH
South of Fifth resident Amanda Mejia, 35, said the environment was an important issue to her this election cycle. She's concerned about flooding, but she also wants to make sure the city's new stormwater pumps aren't sending pollutants into Biscayne Bay.
“We need to do it in an environmentally friendly way,” she said.
She voted no on the Ocean Terrace ballot question, saying she opposes knocking down “iconic buildings and putting up hotels and condos.”
“We like the flavor of Miami Beach,” she said. “We don't want to lose that.”
8 a.m. REBECCA TOWERS, SOUTH BEACH
Voters are trickling in at this senior housing complex in Miami Beach.
Seniors who live in these affordable housing towers vote here, as well as folks from the South of Fifth neighborhood. Some seniors are saying they've already voted through absentee ballot.
Poll worker Bernardo Collado has worked elections for 35 years. He said he loves it.
“I love to meet the people,” he said. “This is a democracy.”