Elections

It’s Election Day in 4 cities in Miami-Dade County. Here’s what you need to know

Residents of Miami, Miami Beach, Hialeah and Homestead will head to the polls Tuesday to vote in several hotly contested city council and commission races, some of which are probably headed for runoffs in a couple weeks.

In three of those cities — all but Homestead, which already had its primary Oct. 1 — Tuesday’s results will determine a winner only if a candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote. Otherwise, the top two finishers in each race will go head to head in runoffs on Nov. 19.

Of those races — two in Miami, three in Miami Beach and four in Hialeah — all but two Hialeah races have four or more candidates, making it highly likely that at least some of them will need runoffs.

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in all four cities. Voters are required to bring a current, valid ID that includes a name, photo and signature.

If you’re having trouble voting, you can contact Miami-Dade County’s Supervisor of Elections at 305-499-8683.

Florida’s division of elections website also allows you to check your voter registration status and look up your polling place.

On the county elections website, you can see sample ballots for all four cities — Miami, Miami Beach, Hialeah and Homestead.

There are some big names on the ballot Tuesday, including Alex Díaz de la Portilla, a former Florida state senator who is among seven candidates vying for the District 1 seat on the Miami City Commission. The other contenders are Horacio S. Aguirre, chairman of the Miami River Commission; Verania “Betty” Hermida, a first-time candidate; Eleazar Meléndez, a political consultant; Miguel Gabela, an auto parts retailer; Yanny Hidalgo, an attorney; and Francisco “Frank” Pichel, a retired Miami police officer. That seat is being vacated by Wifredo “Willy” Gort due to term limits.

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Supporters of candidates camped outside the voting precinct at the Allapattah Branch Library in Miami, on Tuesday, as voters chose from seven candidates running for the Miami City Commission in District 1. Pedro Portal pportal@miamiherald.com

In Miami’s other commission race, incumbent Ken Russell faces three challengers in District 2: real estate broker Jim Fried, businesswoman Rosy Palomino and real estate agent Javier Gonzalez.

As of Oct. 25, the city of Miami had already received over 6,000 mail-in ballots while over 1,000 people had voted in person during early voting.

The county elections department requires that mail-in ballots be signed and received by 7 p.m. on Election Day. Voters also had the option during early voting to deliver their mail-in ballots directly to polling places.

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A voter comes out of the voting precinct at Miami City Hall on Tuesday. Pedro Portal pportal@miamiherald.com

In Miami Beach, each of the three commission races features four candidates. Former city commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, who resigned last year to run for Congress, is seeking a return to elected office.

One of her three opponents is Rafael Velasquez, whom Rosen Gonzalez has accused of exposing himself to her in 2017. Velasquez responded by filing a defamation suit against Rosen Gonzalez.

In other Miami Beach races, incumbent Ricky Arriola is being challenged by three first-time candidates, and former legislator David Richardson faces the owner of David’s Cafe Cafecito and two other candidates.

Hialeah’s races are even more wide open: 13 people are vying to fill four seats on the City Council, and only one incumbent, Lourdes Lozano in Group 1, is running for reelection. Three others have been term-limited.

And in Homestead, Jeffrey Porter will look to reclaim his position as mayor on Tuesday after he resigned last year to run for Florida agriculture commissioner. He faces Steven Losner, who served on the City Council from 2001 to 2007, in a runoff.

In the Oct. 1 primary, embattled former Homestead mayor Steve Shiver finished third, eliminating him from contention.

Several up-or-down citywide referendum votes will also take place Tuesday — five in Hialeah and six in Miami Beach. The Beach will vote on, among other things, whether to increase salaries for city commissioners by $40,000 and for the mayor by nearly $66,000 starting in 2021.

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