Photo by Steve Rainwater/Creative Commons

dR Daily 8/18/20: Florida Primary Elections

Has the act of voting ever felt more fraught? Concerns about coronavirus, voter (and poll worker) safety, mail-in ballots et al are at fever pitch — and we’re still two and a half months away from The Big One: the national election on Tuesday November 3. So think about today’s Florida primaries as a practice round — a gauge of turnout and efficiency that may provide an early indication of whether voting will go smoothly in the fall or whether the Sunshine State will once more be an object lesson in how not to run an election — Hanging Chad 2.0.

That’s not to say the primary isn’t important in its own right. Today’s vote determines who will be on the ballot for important state and local offices in November — and in cases where only one party has mounted a slate of candidates, tonight’s results will crown a winner. That’s the case with the race for Florida House District 70, for instance, where four Democrats — Michele Rayner, Mark Oliver, Keisha Bell and Michelle Grimsley — are vying for the seat vacated by State Rep. Wengay Newton, who left to run for Pinellas County Commission. No Republicans filed to to run for the seat, so whoever wins tonight will be the State Rep.-elect for a district that runs through Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota counties. Whatever party you belong to, this race will be on your ballot (or maybe it was on your ballot if you voted early or by mail).

So yes, usually I devote these dR Daily posts to Arts & Entertainment, but what’s more entertaining than voting? America does it with gusto when it comes to, say, America’s Got Talent, but nothing beats the real thing. This is reality, not Reality TV.