This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.
Election Day 2020 is sunny and pleasant as voters turn out to vote in races ranging from the U.S. president at the national level to constitutional officers and council members at the local level. Putnam, Flagler and St. Johns counties have already seen near record numbers through mail-in and early voting. Before polls opened this morning just over half of Putnam’s 50,693 eligible voters had already cast their ballots. In Flagler County just over 65 percent of the county’s nearly 92,000 eligible voters have already voted. St. Johns County had just over 71 percent of their 210,000 plus voters turn out. Voting continues until 7 p.m. tonight at polls in each county. WPLK and WIYD will have local election returns and interviews of candidates beginning at 7 p.m.
Four state House and Senate seats tied to the tri-county area are up for grabs tonight with incumbents hoping to retain their jobs against challengers. The state District 7 Senate seat representing St. Johns County finds incumbent Travis Hutson challenged by Democrat Heather Hunter and write-in candidate Richard Dembinsky. Florida House District 17 in St. Johns County has Republican incumbent Cyndi Stevenson facing Democrat Dave Rogers. Florida House District 19 seat includes Clay, Bradford, Putnam and Union counties. Republican incumbent Bobby Payne faces Kimberly Dugger, a Democrat, for that post. Florida House District 24 seat, which represents St. Johns, has Republican incumbent Paul Renner facing Adam Morley, a Democrat.
Also on today’s ballot are six constitutional amendments. The one that’s probably drawn the most attention would eventually make minimum wage $15 an hour.
Putnam County Sheriff’s Office was doing some early trick-or-treating with a patrol and warrant operation Friday they named “Bad Candy.” Sheriff’s officers including K9 and drug/vice units ended up arresting nine people on drug and other charges. They are continuing the search for six more individuals, all of whom are wanted for drug-related crimes. Arrested and charged were: Colton Brown, 32, Satsuma; Von Mitchell, 35, Hollister; Courtney Ridenhour, 30, Palatka; Elvin Rollins, 40, Melrose; Katrina Sermons, 39, Palatka; Donald Smith III, 29, Palatka; Jonathan Stevens, 32, Palatka; Jason Tibbs, 46, Palatka; and Christopher Walters, 19, Interlachen. Still sought on drug-related felony charges are Quindarrius Lampley, Evan “Seven” Brown, Dominique “DaDa” Seymour, Shannon Bryant, Brandy Terrill and Michele Blackwelder. If you have information, call CrimeStoppers at 888-277-8477.
Testing for coronavirus continues. Florida Department of Health in Putnam County reported four new cases on Monday, for a total of 2,416. Flagler reported 12 new cases for a total of 2,193. St. Johns County reported 44 new cases bringing their total to 6,720.
St. Johns County Public Works Department is beginning a sidewalk project along Flagler Estates Boulevard. The sidewalk opens up a walking option for pedestrians and is part of the county’s Sidewalk Project. The strip runs from County Road 13 South to Amos Avenue in Flagler Estates. Cost is estimated at $94,000.