The WMN November 8, 2016 Election Voting Guide is here, just in time for EARLY VOTING!
WMN supports the civic engagement of women in their 20s and 30s. This is a volunteer effort with contributions from WMN members Mara, Sarah, Ashley, Melissa, Leah and many others. Thank you for your time and insights! Please excuse formatting inconsistencies. This is not our day job.
Here are the tools you need to be a savvy, smart and informed voter. This guide looks long, but your ballot will be much shorter! Many of these listings are for different neighborhoods, districts and cities in Miami-Dade County – so look at your actual ballot online before you read through this. If you live in a municipality (a city like Miami Beach or Miami Gardens, rather than unincorporated Miami-Dade County) you may have more items that aren’t covered here.
PART I: WHERE & WHEN DO I VOTE?
Election Day: Tuesday, November 8th
Election Day is Tuesday, November 8th. Vote at your neighborhood precinct, open from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Find your precinct here. Please remember that your precinct may have changed from the last time you voted due to statewide redistricting! If you aren’t sure, avoid problems and check your precinct to avoid any issues on Election Day.
Early Voting: Monday, October 24th- Sunday, November 6
All Miami-Dade County registered voters may VOTE EARLY at any one of the 30 (YES! 10 NEW SITES – Click the link – also, Miami City Hall site has moved!) early voting sites in Miami-Dade County. Bring current and valid photo and signature identification. Find locations here.
Vote by Mail:
Wednesday, November 2, is the last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot for the November 8, 2016 General Election. Be sure to have your request for a Vote-by-Mail ballot in to the elections office by 5:00 pm on Wednesday, November 2 to meet this deadline.
PART II: WHAT’S ON MY BALLOT AND HOW DO I CHOOSE?
The only way to know exactly what is on YOUR ballot before you go to the polls is to look at your absentee ballot if you vote by mail or get your customized sample ballot from the Miami-Dade County Elections website. Fill out your name, birth date and house number (that’s the number part of your street address).
- Your personal info pops up with your precinct location (where you will vote if you vote on Election Day).
- Click on the “Sample Ballot” link in the “Future Elections” section to see what your ballot will look like.
The Official Sample Ballot printed by the Elections Department has extra items that won’t be on your ballot and it will be missing other items because it covers the whole county and does not include municipal items. Therefore, it is kinda confusing.
Miami has several new and helpful voter guides to use! Yay!
- League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County – “Voter’s Guide 2016 – General Election” page includes interview responses from many candidates.
- Miami Herald Voter Guide
- SAVE Action PAC – Candidate and issue endorsements from this Miami-Dade County organization dedicated to protecting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) against discrimination.
- The New Tropic 2016 General Election Voter Guide – Great guide from Miami’s coolest news source… “Live Like You Live Here.”
- Engage Miami 2016 General Election Voter Guide – Great State House Races and Ballot Initiative info. Lists helpful endorsements for each candidate.
- WLRN Guide to Ballot Initiatives
- Miami-Dade Democratic Party Voter Guide
- South Florida Caribbean News Voter Guide – not updated by 10/22 – watch for updates
- SEIU 1991 Endorsed Candidates for General Election
- Women’s Fund of Miami-Dade’s non-partisan women-focused See Her Vote Campaign Voter Guide (pdf)
National or state voter guides:
- AmericanVoterGuide.org/florida (Great for federal races – pres, congress and statewide ballot initiatives)
- Sierra Club Endorsements – Florida congressional races included
- PolitiFact Florida: Find the truth in Politics
- Ballotpedia – Fun facts about Florida voting!
- VoteSmart.org – Research candidates at this national non-partisan resource.
- Candidates for county and Local Offices and Committees/PACs
- Florida Department of State’s Candidate Tracking System tracks candidates throughout the elections process presenting candidate status, campaign finance activity, personal photos and contact information.
- Candidates for State and Multi-County Offices
President and Vice President
If you are using the WMN Voter Guide, you don’t need help with this one. #hillzyes
United States Senator:
- Marco Rubio – Rep (Nope.)
- Patrick Murphy – Dem (A chance to vote Marco Rubio and his anti-women policies out, yes, thank you! Endorsed by Miami Herald and the New York Times)
- +5 other candidates
Representatives in Congress:
United States Congress – District 23
- Debbie Wasserman Schultz – Dem – Endorsed by U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC, and many others
- Joseph “Joe” Kaufman – Rep
- +2 other candidates
United States Congress – District 25
- Mario Diaz-Balart – Rep
- Alina Valdez – Dem – Endorsed by National Women’s Political Caucus, Progressive Democrats of America
United States Congress – District 26
- Carlos Curbelo – Rep
- Joe Garcia – Dem
- + 1 other candidate
United States Congress – District 27
- Ileana Ros-Lehtinen – Rep
- Scott Fuhrman – Dem
State Senate – District 36
- René Garcia – Rep (Leans left – endorsed by SAVE Dade, healthcare advocate, prison reform)
- Anabella Grohoski Peralta – Dem
State Senate – District 37
Jose Javier Rodriguez is a champion for women’s rights, worker’s rights and is a true progressive. WMN Supports JJR!
- Jose Javier Rodriguez – Dem (Endorsed by President Obama, Miami Herald)
- Miguel Diaz de la Portilla – Rep
- +1 more candidate
State Senate – District 38
Don’t let the D fool you. Don’t vote for Daphne Campbell if you care about ensuring access to abortion for all Florida women.
- Phillip Brutus – NPA (Endorsed by SAVE Dade, South Florida Labor Council)
- Daphne Campbell – Dem (Endorsed by Personhood FL ProLife PAC)
State Senate – District 39
- Anitere Flores – Rep
- Debbie Mucarsel-Powell – Dem (Endorsed by Planned Parenthood, Emily’s List, and SAVE Dade)
State Senate – District 40
Dwight Bullard is a champion for progressive solutions and for women’s rights. WMN supports Dwight! This race has been unreal with many negative ads and lies told about Senator Bullard, as reported in the Herald and other outlets.
- Dwight M. Bullard – Dem (Endorsed by – Democracy for America, Equality Florida Action PAC, Florida Planned Parenthood, AFL-CIO, SAVE Dade Action PAC, AFSCME Florida, 1199 SEIU, Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida, United Faculty of Florida)
- Frank Artiles – Rep
- Mario Jimenez – NPA
State Representative – District 103
- Manny Diaz Jr. – Rep
- Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich – Dem (Endorsed by SAVE Dade)
State Representative – District 105
- Carlos Trujillo – Rep
- Patricio Moreno – Dem
State Representative – District 110
- Jose Oliva – Rep
- Carlos A. Puentes Sr – Dem (Endorsed by the Democratic Veterans Caucus of Florida)
State Representative – District 111
- Bryan Avila – Rep
- Sevi Miyar – Dem
State Representative – District 112
- Rosa Maria “Rosy” Palomino – Rep
- Nicholas X. Duran – Dem (Endorsed by SAVE Action PAC, SEIU Florida, and the Florida Chamber of Commerce)
State Representative – District 113
WMN supports David Richardson!
- Jonathan H. Parker – Rep
- David Richardson – Dem (Endorsed by Equality Florida, and Florida Planned Parenthood PAC)
State Representative – District 114
Daisy Baez is an excellent choice. WMN supports Baez!
- John D. Couriel – Rep
- Daisy J. Baez – Dem (Endorsed by SAVE Action PAC, AFL-CIO, Ruth’s List, President Obama)
State Representative – District 115
- Michael Bileca – Rep
- Jeffrey Doc Solomon – Dem (Endorsed by SAVE Dade)
State Representative – District 116
- Jose Felix Diaz – Rep
- Heath Rassner – Dem
State Representative – District 118
- David Rivera – Rep
- Robert Asencio – Dem (Endorsed by Planned Parenthood, SAVE Action PAC)
State Representative – District 119
- Jeanette M. Nuñez – Rep
- Jeniffer Pinell – Dem (Endorsed by SEIU Local 1991)
State Representative – District 120
- Holly Raschein – Rep (Endorsed by SAVE Action PAC)
- Dan Horton – Dem (Endorsed by Florida Young Democrats)
Florida law requires Florida Supreme Court justices and appeals court judges to be placed on the ballot in nonpartisan elections every six years, so voters can determine whether the judges or justices should remain on their courts for another six-year term. These are called “merit retention” elections. In 2016, three Supreme Court justices and 28 of the state’s 62 appeals court judges will be on the ballot.
Reasons some WMNers say vote YES to retain all three FL Supreme Court Judges:
- An August poll conducted by Florida Bar asked members whether the justices should be retained based on quality and clarity of judicial opinions; knowledge of the law; integrity; judicial temperament; impartiality; freedom from bias/prejudice; demeanor and courtesy. Canady was supported by 84 percent of the respondents, Labarga by 91 percent and Polston by 84 percent. Florida Bar News.
- The SAVE Action Pac endorsed all three FL Supreme Court Justices.
- Governor Rick Scott gets to appoint replacements if these three are not retained.
Reasons some WMNers say vote NO to get rid of all three FL Supreme Court Judges:
- These three judges were three of the four judges who voted to approve the Solar Amendment (VOTE NO ON 1) language. It is extremely misleading and should not have been approved by the judges, so this in iteself is grounds to remove them.
- They are all very conservative anyway, so don’t be too worried that Governor Rick Scott will appoint replacements.
You have to decide!
Supreme Court Justices:
- Charles T. Canady
- Jorge Labarga
- Ricky Polston
District Court of Appeal:
WMN suggests a vote to retain these judges.
- Edwin A. Scales – YES
- Linda Ann Wells – YES
CIRCUIT JUDGE ELECTIONS:
Circuit Judge: 11th Circuit, Group 34
- Mark Blumstein – (Endorsed by AFL-CIO, SEIU)
- Luis Perez-Medina (Super charming in his New Tropic questionairre)
Circuit Judge: 11th Circuit, Group 52
- Carol “Jodie” Breece (WMN Supports Judge Breece! Endorsed by the Miami Herald and SAVE Dade – bonus, if elected, she will be the first female Asian American judge in Miami’s history)
- Oscar Rodrigiez-Fonts
Other Legal Resources:
- Florida Bar: Judicial Candidate Voluntary Self-Disclosure Statements (county and circuit)
- Cuban American Bar Association 2016 Judicial Poll: Miami-Dade
- AV Preeminent Rated (Peer-rated based on legal knowledge, communication skills & ethical standards (enter candidate’s name in search tab at top of page)
Miami-Dade County School Board
- Wilbert T. “Tee” Holloway (Endorsed by Miami Herald)
- Steve Gallon
- Modesto “Mo” Abety (Endorsed by the SAVE Action PAC and Miami-Dade Democratic Party)
- Maria Teresa “Mari Tere” Rojas
Miami-Dade County Mayor
State Constitutional Amendments
Four proposed amendments to Florida’s constitution need 60 percent yes to pass.
- Solar energy
- Marijuana Use
- Ad valorem tax exemptions
- Homestead Tax Exemption
League of Women Voters Guide to Florida Amendments
Amendment 1: Solar Energy
Rule of thumb on the purposefully impossible-to-understand solar energy amendment: Vote NO on 1. Here’s some more info:
Florida Solar Choice includes 200 businesses and organizations, including the Sierra Club, Everglades Coalition, Audubon Society, Greenpeace, Hands Across the Sand
League of Women Voters of Florida join solar coalition
Amendment 2: Marijuana Use
This is a citizen initiative that would legalize the use of medical marijuana to relieve the symptoms of people afflicted with specific diseases and conditions.
Supporters: Florida Democratic Party; Service Employees International Union; American Civil Liberties Union of Florida; AFL-CIO; Florida NAACP; Medical Marijuana of Florida; American Federation of State; County and Municipal Employees; John Morgan, Orlando lawyer.
Opponents: Florida Chamber of Commerce; Drug Free Florida Committee.
Amendment 3: Tax Exemption for Disabled First Responders
What it does: Florida’s Constitution already grants a property-tax exemption to the spouses of first responders who die in the line of duty. Amendment 3 authorizes the Legislature to extend that exemption to first responders who are “totally and permanently disabled” from injuries they received in the line of duty.
A vote of YES would mean: Eligible individuals disabled in the line of duty will receive tax exemptions on their homes.
[Amendment 4 passed in the primary election, so it is not on the ballot!]
Amendment 5: Homestead Tax Exemption
What it does: Amendment 5 would ensure that low-income seniors who qualify for an additional homestead exemption as longtime residents do not lose that exemption if the value of their property rises.
A vote of YES would mean: Eligible individuals would recieve certain tax breaks and their home value for property taxes would remain fixed.
Thank you to our lawyer and government-savvy friends for helping us interpret the charter amendments. The consensus seems to lean YES to both, but it depends on your perspective. The New Tropic has an easy breakdown.
Charter Amendment on Control of Special Purpose Districts in Municipalities
Shall the Charter be amended to allow the Board of County Commissioners to
provide, by ordinance, that the governing body of any special purpose district located entirely within the boundaries of a municipality be the governing body of the municipality rather than the Board of County Commissioners as is currently required by the Charter?
WMN Says: This seems to be a question of whether you think it’s better for municipalities to take more ownership of special districts in their boundaries. This could be good because it gives municipal governments more control, but also bad because often there is less oversight on smaller governments. The main justification seems to be to relieve the County of the administrative burden of setting the tax rates and managing these special districts.
Charter Amendment Including Right to Copy Public Records in the Citizens’ Bill of Rights
The public records provision of the Charter’s Citizens’ Bill of Rights, enforced by both private action and the Commission on Ethics and the Public Trust, currently requires public records of the County and the municipalities be open to the public only for inspection. Shall this provision be amended to also require that such records be available for copying by the public in a manner consistent with State public records law?
WMN Says: Vote YES. This is really just clarifying the existing situation. Florida’s public record law is completely unaffected by the County’s Citizen Bill of Rights, so the answer to the question is a yes but… why is this on the ballot? Sigh.
Municipal (City) Items
WLRN has done an amazing job of listing all of the municipal ballot items here. Make sure you are on the Miami-Dade County tab.
PART IV: GET INVOLVED
If you got this far, you are a civic SUPERSTAR. THANK YOU. Beyond this election, you are current and future leaders of Miami. We encourage you to build your capacity as political entrepreneurs by applying for the New Leaders Council or the Miami Foundation’s Miami Fellows program. Several WMN members are graduates of these prestigious programs.
Support and encourage progressive women candidates with Ruth’s List and Emily’s List. Help educate voters with the nonpartisan See Her Vote campaign at the Women’s Fund or at the League of Women Voters. If you are looking for information or guidance on these opportunities, please contact us!
And, of course, if you are a progressive woman in your 20s or 30s who lives in Miami, please join WMN Miami! The easiest way to join us is at our Facebook group.
Women’s Movement Now (WMN), the Miami Chapter of the Younger Women’s Task Force (YWTF), is a grassroots group of women in their twenties and thirties who seek to create and maintain a space for the engagement and activism of younger women. YWTF Miami creates opportunities for younger women to organize and take action on issues that are important to them. We work to make the voices of younger women heard by policymakers and the community at large. YWTF is powered nationally by the American Association of University Women (AAUW).
What do we do?
- Voter guides to help our members vote since 2006!
- An annual networker designed specifically for job seekers and those looking to recruit new employees to meet in a low key, friendly environment
- Volunteer projects, including community gardening and supporting disaster relief efforts
- Bookclub, writing classes, cooking classes tours of Miami’s unique spots, including the Port of Miami and Wynwood Walls
- Bringing dynamic speakers on the environment, arts, financial planning, media justice, politics, and much more to the community.
- Connecting younger women to each other and to new career opportunities
- Creating a space for women in their 20s and 30s to discuss feminist activism, action and issues in person and online