Emerald Coast voters will head to the polls Tuesday to select their nominees for a long list of local, state and national races.
Ballots include everything from U.S. Senate and House races to a constitutional amendment that gives a tax break to property owners using solar energy.
Across the region, candidates and their supporters hit the roadsides for some last-minute sign waving. Polls in Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“We were setting up over the weekend,” Walton County Supervisor of Elections Bobby Beasley said. “Everything is going good and the equipment has checked out. We hope people come out.”
Elections officials were equally busy in Okaloosa County where Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux oversees roughly 500 poll workers.
“We’ve had very minimal problems,” he said.
All three counties wrapped up early voting Saturday, and Lux and Beasley say their turnout was spurred by the storm churning in the Gulf of Mexico.
“Some of the earlier predictions had it making landfall in Florida on Tuesday so people were concerned the election might be postponed,” Lux said.
In Okaloosa County, 9,624 people cast early ballots, accounting for 7.4 percent of registered voters. Walton County saw an early voting turnout of 3,594 or 7.9 percent of its registered voters. In Santa Rosa County, 7,754 people or 6 percent of registered voters cast early ballots.
Lux predicted Okaloosa’s primary turnout would exceed the 2012 total of 28.3 percent.
“I think we’ve seen enough interest in these races locally that I think we’re going to clear 30 percent easily,” he said.
Beasley predicted a 30 to 35 percent turnout in Walton County.
“We’ve had some heated (county) commission races, so I think voter interest has spiked,” he said, adding that an improved weather forecast will also help. “We thought we might be voting in a tropical storm. It looks like we’re going to be spared that.”