Florida primary live blog: Voters pick among Trump, Rubio, Sanders, Clinton

Maria Lozano 50, and Gabriella Genao 20, speak to the media after voting for Hillary Clinton in Florida's presidential primary Tuesday March 15, 2016.
Maria Lozano 50, and Gabriella Genao 20, speak to the media after voting for Hillary Clinton in Florida's presidential primary Tuesday March 15, 2016. wmichot@miamiherald.com

[6:00 p.m.] Clinton gets some Dunkin

Hillary Clinton spent about 10 minutes at a Dunkin Donuts in suburban West Palm Beach mid Tuesday afternoon. She ordered an iced coffee and schmoozed with some prospective voters.

She arrived at the Dunkin Donuts around 3:50 p.m. About 15 or so patrons were seated inside. The first person she saw was Sam Oser, an elderly man who held up two birthday candles -- one in the shape of the number 9 and the other in the shape of a 0. Oser said he celebrated his 90th birthday on Monday. “Happy 90th!” Clinton told him. They chatted briefly about Chelsea's daughter Charlotte. Oser said it’s the best thing in the world to be a grandparent. “Isn’t it?” Clinton replied. “And we’re having another one… It is the best.”

Oser gave Clinton a kiss on the cheek and said he wanted “to make Bill jealous.” Clinton laughed.

Donald Trump is also in Palm Beach Tuesday, and his plane was on the tarmac when Clinton’s touched down. He’s hosting an event later in the evening at at his Mar-a-Lago Club.

--Clinton Pool report, Ruby Cramer (BuzzFeed) and Eliot Kleinberg (Palm Beach Post)

[4:38 p.m.] FL Secretary of State: Trump is on the GOP ballot

Donald Trump said earlier today he’s received “a lot of complaints” he’s not on the ballot given to some Republican voters in Florida. And an image purportedly of a ballot without Trump has circulated on Twitter.

But Secretary of State Ken Detzner took to Twitter himself Tuesday afternoon to say the Republican frontrunner is indeed on the ballot in the state, which he certified Dec. 15. Department spokeswoman Meredith Beatrice said she couldn’t confirm where the Trump-less ballot image came from, but said none of the local supervisors of elections overseeing voting in Florida’s 67 counties have reported Trump’s name missing from the Florida GOP ballot. (Remember, Florida holds a closed primary)

She said voters registered as Republicans in the state should be assured that Trump’s name is on the ballot.

[4:00 p.m.] Florida GOP Chairman expecting ‘record turnout’ and ‘tight’ presidential race

Polls may show Florida’s Republican presidential primary as Donald Trump’s to lose, but Blaise Ingoglia, chairman of Florida’s Republican party, believes the party is in for a “tight and competitive race” in the Sunshine State.

Speaking to CNN Tuesday, Ingoglia said Florida voters are turning out in record numbers, with 1.17 million ballots already cast as of Tuesday morning. And he said polls conducted off of voter rolls are showing a much closer race between Trump and Senator Marco Rubio than others that show Trump running away with the race.

“If anybody can pull off a state-wide race as an underdog, Marco Rubio can do it,” Ingoglia said.

h/t The Buzz

[3:29 p.m.] Voter confusion in Palm Beach County

Voter confusion in Palm Beach County has prompted a call by the Florida Department of State to the supervisor of elections there. Secretary of State Ken Detzner said in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon that everything is running as it should:

“The Florida Department of State has spoken with the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections office and all eligible voters are able to vote. Anyone who is registered as No Party Affiliation (NPA) is not able to vote for a Republican or Democratic nominee in the Presidential Preference Primary (PPP).

“No Party Affiliation voters who showed up at the polls were provided with ballots for local municipal races. Pursuant to Florida law, only voters registered for one of Florida’s major political parties by the bookclosing deadline (February 16) are eligible to vote in the Presidential Preference Primary.

“Ballots for the Presidential Preference Primary contain each of the nominee names certified on December 15, 2015.”

[2:53 p.m.] Two “yes” votes on Miami Beach ballot question

Jack Nieman and husband Rick Reder cast their first ballots as Florida residents Tuesday at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden.

The New York transplants voted to approve the public land lease for the convention center hotel because they think it will boost the city's economy, even though Reder thinks the building is an eyesore.

“It will destroy the texture of the city,” he said.


[1:55 p.m.] Donald Trump has a HUGE number of poll watchers in Miami-Dade

In Miami-Dade County, the poll-watcher score is Marco Rubio: zero and Donald Trump: 46.

Donald Trump’s campaign registered 46 poll watchers for Election Day in Miami-Dade, making him the only candidate with the ability to have official eyes and ears around voting booths across the county, according to election supervisors.

A list released Tuesday by the Miami-Dade Elections Department showed Trump with 46 registered poll watchers and none for any of the other candidates. That gives the Trump organization nearly four dozen people authorized to stand within voting areas and monitor activities for the campaign.

Juan Fiol, vice chairman of Trump’s Miami-Dade campaign, said the hearty roster of poll watchers came from a surge of local residents eager to work for the GOP frontrunner. “We have more volunteers than anybody else,” said Fiol, a real estate agent in West Kendall. “A lot of people ask to volunteer.”

Read more here.


[1:31 p.m.] Voter complains Miami-Dade messed up his party affiliation

A West Kendall-area man says he was almost turned away from his polling place at Calusa Elementary School because elections officials mistakenly had him listed as an independent voter. Florida has “closed” primaries, and independent voters can’t participate.

But Steven Gold, 57, said he’s not an independent, he’s a registered Democrat.

When the polling place said he couldn’t vote, “I said ‘No, that’s not the case,’” Gold said.

Luckily, Gold said he had his voter registration with him, and he showed it to the poll workers, who were able to manually override the elections database and give him a Democratic primary ballot. But Gold said he worries that if this happens to other voters (and they don’t have their registration with them), they’ll be turned away.

“The results in Florida are pivotal,” he said.

Asked about Gold’s complaint, Miami-Dade elections officials said they would investigate the issue.

[1:02 p.m.] Bomb threat hoax shuts down Broward polling place for almost two hours

According to Miami Herald news partner CBS4, a bomb threat hoax forced the evacuation of voters — and students — from Pompano Beach Middle School. The evacuation happened just before 9 a.m., and lasted until shortly before 10:30 a.m., when authorities finally determined there was no bomb.

One teacher told CBS4 that at least two people were unable to vote during the emergency evacuation. Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes encouraged anyone who wasn’t able to vote to return and cast a ballot.

“We are open until 7 p.m.,” she told CBS4.

[12:37 p.m.] Voter rides her bike to the polls, to fit some exercise in

Yesenia Hoyas, 41, rode her bike to the Open Bible Church in Miami to cast her vote. In addition to getting some exercise, she said it was important to her to vote this year.

“I figured that it’s a very important election,” Hoyas said. “I made the time to do it. It's all about making the time to do it.”

Walter Michot wmichot@miamiherald.com


[12:06 p.m.] Trump voter calls her Broward neighborhood “enemy territory”

Broward County is an overwhelmingly Democratic county. And Wilton Manors voter Wilma Maly, a Republican, is well aware.

“I know I am in enemy territory,” Maly, 83, said after casting her vote for Trump.

“I like him because he is different,” Maly said. “He is not afraid. He says what a lot of people wish they had the guts to say.”

She also admires his business success.

“He is a brilliant businessman,” Maly said.


[11:34 a.m.] A vote for the “Jewish hero”

For Miami Beach Democrat David Marc Harris, an entertainment lawyer, Bernie Sanders is the best choice for president.

The 38-year-old said he'd support Hillary Clinton if she won the nomination, but he's more fired up about Sanders because he's a role model for young Jews.

“I'm looking for a Jewish hero for my kids,” he said. “Other generations had Sandy Koufax and Hank Greenberg. Me growing up, I had the Beastie Boys. My children could have Bernie Sanders.”


[11:16 a.m.] Voting still going smoothly, Miami-Dade says

“I’m very happy to report that everything is in full working order,” said Miami-Dade Deputy Supervisor of Elections Carolina Lopez.

[11:02 a.m.] Miami Beach Convention Center ballot issue

Sarah Hammill, a librarian at Florida International University, cast her ballot at the Indian Creek Fire Station in North Beach. She didn't want to share her preference for president, but she voted no on the proposed ground lease for construction of a 800-room hotel connected to the Miami Beach Convention Center.

She thought the city could cut a better deal, adding that Miami Beach might not even need to worry about hotels and conventions in a century.

“It's a 99-year lease,” she said. “I mean, this will all be underwater in 99 years.”


[10:29 a.m.] In the strange-but-true category...

[10:16 a.m.] Mother and daughter cast votes together

Maria Lozano, 50, arrived at Open Bible Church in Miami with her daughter Gabriella Genao, 20.

It was their first time voting. Mother and daughter didn't tell each other which candidate they were rooting for until they were interviewed by the Herald.

“Hillary Clinton,” they both said, giggling with surprise. “We didn't even know until now.”

Lozano explained her vote this way: “Girl Power. I think she's the best qualified.”

Genao, a political science major at FIU, said she is happy her mother, a Dominican immigrant, finally has a chance to vote.


[10:07 a.m.] Voting problems in Jacksonville

[9:49 a.m.] Rick Scott stays mum.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott tells CNN that he cast an absentee ballot a week ago. But Scott won’t say WHO he voted for.

[9:03 a.m.] Pro and anti-Trump in Pompano Beach

In Pompano Beach, at the Emma Lou Olson Civic Center, retired longshoreman and marine veteran Steve Waters voted for Trump.

"Donald Trump I feel is for the people,” Waters said. “He seems sincere, like he really wants to help the people...he doesn't need money.”

Another Pompano Beach voter, Jennifer Zdorow, said she voted against Trump and chose Rubio — even though she said she doesn't like Rubio either.

As for Trump, she said, “I don't like him using the Republican Party to put forth this kind of rhetoric that is against conservatism.”

Zdorow, 32, teaches seventh grade civics and many of her students are immigrants or children of immigrants.

“They are concerned they are going to be deported if Trump becomes president,” she said.


[8:35 a.m.] Trump is winning Facebook

Donald Trump isn’t just dominating the TV coverage of the presidental race, he’s also the king of Facebook chatter.

On Tuesday morning, Facebook released statistics showing that the Donald is the most talked-about candidate on Facebook, in both Florida and the U.S. as a whole.

In Florida, nearly 2.7 million people liked, posted about, commented on or shared content related to the Donald, adding up to 25,587,000 “interactions” on Facebook.

Next in line was Hillary Clinton, with 1.3 million people and 9,211,000 interactions. Bernie Sanders came in third (948,000 people, 6,121,000 interactions).

Marco Rubio placed fifth in his home state, with 563,000 people and 3,088,000 interactions. Ted Cruz (585,000 people, 3,984,000 interactions) took fourth.

The Facebook data covers the period of Feb. 14 to March 13.

[8:23 a.m.] Still no love lost between Trump, Marco Rubio

[7:57 a.m.] “That’s a secret”

Tony Garcia, 74, says voting was a “piece of cake.”

“It was quick, it was smooth,” said Garcia, who voted at the Coral Gables Country Club. “There were no worries or malfunctions.”

As a Cuban immigrant, Garcia said voting is “vital.”

“I come from a place where that isn't possible,” he said. “I need to take advantage of the gift now that I have it.”

Garcia is a registered Democrat, but he wouldn't disclose his favorite candidate.

“That's a secret, a big secret,” he said.


[7:38 a.m.] Here we go!

Polls are open! Miami-Dade Deputy Supervisor of Elections Carolina Lopez said the county’s 783 precincts opened without any problems Tueday morning.

“Everything was ready to go before 7 a.m.,” she said.

In Florida, primary elections are closed, so only registered Republicans or Democrats can choose a preferred presidential candidate (sorry, independents!). The cities of Miami, Miami Beach, and Surfside also have local races or ballot questions — all voters in those cities can vote on the local issues.

Not sure about your polling place? Can’t remember your party affiliation? Voters can get these and other questions answered by calling 311, or by clicking here.

Voters need to bring a driver’s license or other acceptable form of ID. A full list of accepted ID’s can be found here.

There’s no need to go digging through your dresser to find your voter registration card.

“That’s actually just informational for them,” Lopez said. “What they do need to do is bring a proper ID.”

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