State Politics

Live blog: Turnout in Miami-Dade around 40 percent; Three new mayors in local cities

Emily Michot

The television, radio and Internet ads are disappearing. Mailboxes won’t burst with political mailers now. The ballots have been cast and counted.

Election season is over.

As the noise from another vote dies down, follow our blog today for news from the day after.

1:55, Graph shows dismal turnout among voters under 30

Why do young people stay at home during midterm elections? Leave a comment with your thoughts.

1:29, Voters say chatter at Southwest Ranches distracting

Vikki Yarborough voted at Southwest Ranches Town Hall on Tuesday. For her, voting in her precinct would be easier — if there wasn’t so much chatter.

“It’s good, it’s easy, it’s quick. If everyone in the room — the officials —would not talk. That’s my biggest beef. They talk all the time and you gotta read all these amendments or read things, ya can’t because they’re reading. Or they’re talking to each other.”

Yarborough says she’s complained about the noise before, but it’s the same story every time she votes.

Read more about this story from WLRN’s Selima Hussain.

1:07, Florida Cannabis Coalition disappointed after Amendment 2 does not pass

Tom Quigley, CEO of the Florida Cannabis Coalition, issued this statement Wednesday:

“Above all else, Amendment 2 was about the patients. I feel for them the most. For the parents and children I have met over the past year, who are now faced with a terrible choice: leave their home and seek treatment in other states, or suffer. It’s a terrible choice.”

Advocates for medical marijuana have said they are prepared to get it back on the ballot in 2016 after 57.6 percent of voters approved it — not enough to meet the 60 percent threshold necessary to change Florida’s Constitution. The Florida Legislature, who this year approved use of one strain of non-euphoric marijuana for epileptic children after quashing several attempts in the past, could legalize it themselves. It would have to get through a Republican-controlled Florida House.

12:38, Roundup of municipal elections

Aventura, Sunny Isles Beach and El Portal have new mayors after Tuesday’s election, and several cities have new commissioners or council members.

Our team of reporters covering local races run through the results here.

12:30, Republican spending made a difference this election

From the New York Times: For Republican donors, spending finally pays off

Noon, Florida TaxWatch reacts to election results

Dominic M. Calabro, president and CEO of FloridaTaxWatch, released this statement Wednesday:

"As the 2015 Legislative Session is approaching, Florida TaxWatch continues to research policy recommendations and cost savings opportunities for Florida taxpayers. We look forward to sharing these recommendations to improve accountability, transparency and efficiency in Florida government with each of the state's lawmakers, including several newly elected public servants. Florida TaxWatch will continue to work with Governor Scott, CFO Atwater, General Bondi and Commissioner Putnam, and the members of the Florida Legislature, and our statewide partners to make smart investments in Florida's future through education programs, restructuring criminal justice sentencing, economic development and growth initiatives and improved health care options for Floridians."

11:56, Charlie Crist makes history

11:30, Doral councilwoman unseated, charter amendments pass — including two reversing changes approved in August

Doral Councilwoman Bettina Rodriguez-Aguilera lost her seat to Pete Cabrera, who returns to the dais after serving for two terms and losing to current Mayor Luigi Boria in 2012.

With 54.5 percent of the 6,392 votes cast in Doral, Cabrera bested Rodriguez-Aguilera by 574 votes. About 34.8 percent of Doral’s 18,375 people registered voters went to the polls Tuesday.

All five charter amendments proposed by the City Council were approved.

▪ In a clear power grab, the City Council returned the power to select a city manager — the city’s supposedly nonpolitical chief administrator — back into the hands of the mayor and council. Doral voters approved a charter amendment in August that required each of the five councilmembers to appoint a resident to a search committee to find a new city manager, city clerk or city attorney. That amendment was proposed by the a citizen review board that convenes every five years. It passed with 54.8 percent of the vote in a primary where about 2,000 residents voted.

The council was apparently unhappy with city manager part. They proposed their own amendment to snatch that appointment power back. About 53.8 percent of voters approved this, with a total of about 6,000 people voting. Under the change, the mayor has a “reasonable” amount of time to nominate a replacement city manager. If that undetermined amount of time passes, the councilmembers can nominate someone. The nominee still needs approval from the majority of the council.

▪ In another reversal from a change approved in August, elected officials no longer have a strict two-term limit on holding office. They can serve two consecutive four-year terms, take a one-term break, and then return to run for the office he or she previous held. This doesn’t apply from individuals going for council to mayor or vice-versa.

▪ Another amendment requires the city’s Charter Review Commission, a body that convenes every five years to review the city’s governing document and suggest changes, to meet after hours. It also says these changes go to voters during the November general election.

▪ Run-off elections will now be held in the first week of December instead of right before Thanksgiving.

▪ Elected officials wanted some more power from the city manger, and they got it. Now, councilmembers can hire and fire their own legislative aides. The city manager can still discipline or fire these aides if they violate city laws and policies.

10:45, Turnout in Broward around 43 percent

About 43.5 percent of the 1.07 million registered voters in Broward County cast ballots this year.

Here’s a look at Broward by the numbers:

▪ Total ballots cast: 464,317

▪ About 67.8 percent voted for Crist, who led Scott by about 176,00 votes. Still, with 548,503 registered Democrats in Broward, Crist did not draw out enough to push him past Scott in the race.

▪ Medical marijuana proved more popular among Broward votes, with 67.9 percent approval. It got 155,000 more votes.

▪ George Sheldon got the nod for attorney general from Broward voters as he received 63.7 percent. He led eventual winner Pam Bondi by about 131,000 votes.

10:30, Turnout in Miami-Dade around 40 percent

Tuesday’s mid-term election brought out 40.7 percent of Miami-Dade County’s 1.3 million registered voters and 43.5 percent in Broward.

Here’s a quick look at Miami-Dade by the numbers:

▪ Total ballots cast: 528,956

▪ About 58 percent chose Charlie Crist for governor, and he led Gov. Rick Scott about about 100,000 votes. It wasn’t enough to top incumbent Scott in a close race, who led Crist by 1.2 percent points statewide.

▪ In the race for the 26th Congressional district, Republican challenger Carlos Curbelo captured 52.2 percent of the vote, besting Democratic incumbent Joe Garcia by about 6,000 votes.

▪ About 485,600 voters cast ballots on the constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana. Of them, 56.8 percent voted in favor, essentially mirroring the statewide percentage of 57 percent. Statewide, 60 percent voter approval is needed to change Florida’s constitution.

▪ A majority of Miami-Dade voters chose Democrat George Sheldon, who got 54.6 percent of the vote, for attorney general. Even though Pam Bondi got about 55,00 fewer votes in Miami-Dade, she kept her job by getting 55.2 percent statewide

9:45, Miami Lakes councilman raises big money to trounce unknown opponent

Miami Lakes Councilman Ceasar Mestre, who collected nearly $60,000 in campaign contributions from dozens of Hialeah real-estate interests and other outsiders, easily won a second term Tuesday to the Miami Lakes Council.

Herald writer Paradise Afshar has the story here.

9:30, Group touts impact of religious voters

There’s no doubt candidates tried their best to take “Souls to the Polls” this year.

Groups like Faith in Florida recognized this push to reach people who vote based on their religious values. A statement from Faith in Florida’s exective director Jerry Peña said in a statement his group reached out to tens of thousands of black and Hispanic voters to talk about political participation.

“Republican and Democratic candidates ignore at their peril the emerging bloc of religious voters who voted their values on voting rights, immigration reform and affordable health care for all,” said Jerry Peña, Faith in Florida’s Executive Director. “Faith in Florida Get Out the Vote turned out 50,279 voters demonstrating that religious institutions that preach justice and redemption also have the ability to use sophisticated tools and targeting to move large numbers of people to the polls who might not otherwise vote."

Both Gov. Rick Scott and Charlie Crist made efforts to reach voters in houses or worship, particularly during early voting on Sundays. Scott, who won re-election, made a stronger push than in years past, and the early voting tallies showed it. Republicans lead the Democrats by about 126,000 in pre-Election Day ballots cast.

9:14, General Election results

Find results for all elections, from local county questions to Senate races from across the country, on the Herald’s results page.

8:55, Reaction to voters approving FIU expansion

Florida International University may have gotten the nod from voter to move into the Youth Fair’s territory, but the university still has other hurdles to clear before it can expand its campus. Read more from the Herald’s Douglas Hanks about the FIU question, voters’ rejection of the $390 million plan to replace the county courthouse and other local measures here.

8:40, Republican win veto-proof majority in Florida House

Tuesday marked a resurgence of the GOP on both a state and national level.

As Republicans took control of the U.S. Senate, they captured a super-majority in Florida’s House of Representatives by unseating six Democratic incumbents.

The Miami Herald’s Kathleen McGrory has the story here.

8:25 A.M., Anti-legalization group reacts to failure of medical marijuana amendment in Florida

Smart Approaches to Marijuana, or SAM, an anti-legalization group, issued a statement Tuesday night after the amendment legalizing medical marijuana in Florida did not pass.

"The Florida result is a devastating loss for legalization advocates, who predicted a slam dunk there just a few months ago,” said Kevin A. Sabet, president and CEO of SAM. “A backlash is beginning.”

The group has opposed legalization efforts across the country, like in Colorado, Washington, D.C. and Maine.

In Florida, amendments to the state’s constitution need 60 percent approval from voters to pass. Amendment 2, which would have legalized medical marijuana, only garnered support from 57 percent of voters.

— JOEY FLECHAS and AUDRA D.S. BURCH

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