Voting during coronavirus

Elections signs line the way to Sugar Sand Park polls. Photo by Diane Emeott Korzen.

By: Diane Emeott Korzen
Contributing Writer

Just over 25 percent of Palm Beach County voters cast an in-person ballot in the Aug. 18 Primary Election — where polling places were equipped with glass shields at sign-in, disposable pens given out to everyone, and sign-in screens and voter booths wiped down with sanitizer after every voter.

“It’s been a good trickling in of people all day,” quipped an Election Deputy at the Center For Spiritual Living polling place on SW 12 Avenue in Boca Square. As of 3:15 p.m., 131 live voters were recorded at this location.

“I think everyone will do Early Voting or Mail-In to avoid the rush in November. Especially Early Voting,” predicted another poll worker.

The Primary Election allows registered Democrats or Republicans to help narrow the number of choices for each seat in their party, before the winners’ names appear at the upcoming General/Presidential Election for all to vote on. If a candidate has no same-party opponents, his or her name goes straight to the Nov. 3 ballot.

Instructions for voters about coronavirus were placed outside polling locations. Photo by Diane Emeott Korzen.

Voters facing difficult daily decisions in the time of COVID-19 tended to go with incumbents with name recognition to get the job done, vs. newcomers or less familiar candidates.

In non-partisan local races, Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District Commissioner Erin Wright edged out contender Nancy-Jo Feinberg for Seat 3, with Wright earning 56.26 percent of votes to Feinberg’s 43.74 percent.

Similarly, Beach & Park District Commissioner Steven Engel got top votes for Seat 5 at 55.14 percent over Eric Pendergraft’s 25.20 percent and William “Billy” Vale’s 19.65 percent.

Familiar School Board Member Frank Barbieri (District 5) got 59.83 percent of the vote over Suzanne Page who had 40.17 percent.

In partisan races, Democratic Sheriff Ric Bradshaw gathered 61.34 percent of votes vs. Democratic contender Alex Freeman’s 38.66. If Bradshaw wins the General Election in November, he will embark on his fifth, four-year term as Sheriff.

Democratic Supervisor of Elections Wendy Sartory Link took 71.82 percent over Paulette Armstead’s 28.18 percent. Sartory Link was appointed to the position by Governor Ron DeSantis in January 2019, following a slow recount of ballots by former PBSOE Susan Bucher and Broward SOE Brenda Snipes after the November 2018 mid-term Election.

Bucher later called herself “a victim of political agendas,” according to the Sun Sentinel.

Long-time Democratic politicians Alcee Hastings and Lois Frankel each faced an opponent from the same party in their bid to be on the General Election ballot for Representative in Congress Districts 20 and District 21.

Hastings took 65.99 percent of the vote for District 20, over Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick with 34.01 percent.

In her race for District 21, former West Palm Beach Mayor and State Representative Frankel got 86.01 percent, compared to Guido Weiss, who had 13.99 percent.

Similarly, Republican Representative in Congress for District 18 Brian Mast garnered 84.46 percent of votes over fellow Republican Nick Vessio with 15.54 percent.

Another hot race had Tina Polsky taking 66.88 percent of votes for State Senator District 29 over former State Representative (Nov. 2012 to 2016) Irving Slosberg, who was preceded by George Moraitis and succeeded by his daughter Emily as State Representative District 91. The “Let Irv Serve” campaign got 33.12 percent or one-third of the vote in the recent race for State Senate democrat. Polsky has been State Representative for District 91 since 2018.

A woman holds up a sign for Jim Pruden, who won the Democratic Primary Election and will be on the Nov. 3 Ballot. Photo by Diane Emeott Korzen.

One newcomer who beat a longtime politician was Republican Rick Kozell who got 43.46 percent over fellow Republican Carl Domino’s 20.47 percent (and John Snyder’s 36.07 percent) in the race for State Representative District 82. [Domino timed out after serving eight consecutive terms from 2002 to 2010 as State Representative for District 83.]