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Dade Elections Dept. Busy Prepping For May 14th Referendum

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(Source: CBS4)

(Source: CBS4)

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Miami Dolphins

MIAMI (CBS4) – Miami-Dade voters will get their say in a proposal to use tax dollars to, in part, fund renovations at Sun Life Stadium.

On Wednesday, the plan received approval from the county commission in a vote of 8-3. Commissioners voted to hold a May 14th referendum to ask for voter approval to use local tourist tax dollars for a 30-year interest free loan to the Miami Dolphins for stadium upgrades.

The referendum will be put before voters on May 14th which means the county’s election department has essentially a month to pull together a special election.

On Thursday, while election department workers weren’t in a frenzy, they were definitely busy as they collated documents, arranged supplies, tested ballots and checked that polling places and precinct workers were available.

“Here at the department we are in full elections preparation mode,” said Deputy Elections Supervisor Christina White.

White added because of the short prep period they will hire more workers and start pulling 24 hour shifts early next week.

Many are hoping that this election will go more smoothly than the last one in which people waited in line for hours to cast their ballots.

“There’s a big difference between the ballot in November and this ballot,” said White. “There was a five page ballot with confusing language in some cases, this is a one page ballot.”

White believes it will also help that the county changed the early voting period back to 14 days instead of the state-mandated eight day period from last year.

Even though time is short to get ready for it, White believes her department can pull off a smooth special election.

“This is a compressed time frame for the elections department, we do typically have more time to prepare but we’re very confident that we’ll be able to conduct a successful election,” said White.

In addition to the election, there are some key time frame deadlines the elections department must meet. Next Tuesday, overseas and military ballots must go out. Requested absentee ballots must go out on April 23rd. Early voting must begin April 29th and run through May 12th.

Anyone who wants to cast a ballot in this election must be a registered voter by the end of the business day on Monday, April 15th.

Another hurdle the proposal must clear is in Tallahassee. The proposal must be approved by the state’s Legislature whose session ends on May 3rd.

So there is a chance that votes could be cast on the referendum only to have it thrown out if it doesn’t get legislative approval.

In an effort to grow support for the plan, a coalition of Miami-Dade business and community leaders have formed “Miami First” – a campaign to protect the future of Super Bowls, college championships, and international soccer in Miami-Dade ahead of the May 14th referendum.

Organizers say “Miami First” will work to ensure that residents of Miami-Dade know about the project, which will create over 4,000 jobs and pump millions of dollars into the local economy.

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