Despite widespread power outages and other problems caused by Hurricane Irma, Miami-Dade election officials say will proceed with two legislative special elections as planned.
Early voting in the races to fill the vacant seats in Senate District 40 and House District 116 will begin Saturday with the actual election set for Sept. 26.
“We rely on the independent Supervisors of Elections to guide decision making on elections in their counties,” said McKinley Lewis, deputy communications director for Gov. Rick Scott. “(Miami-Dade County) Supervisor of Elections Christina White has requested to move forward with this election, and we will accept her guidance.”
Florida Democratic Party Chair Stephen Bittel wrote a letter to the governor earlier in the week requesting the election in the Senate race be delayed to give voters and the candidates a chance to recover from Irma before having to go to the voting booths.
Efforts to get an explanation why Bittel requested a delay in the Senate contest and not the House race went unanswered by the party.
The candidates in the race for the Senate seat are Democrat Annette Taddeo and Republican former state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz.
The special election was called to replace former Sen. Frank Artiles, R-Miami. Artiles resigned earlier this year after making racist comments to another lawmaker at a Tallahassee restaurant.
Diaz announced he was stepping down from his House seat to run for Senate vacancy, requiring a special election to fill his House seat. The candidates in that race are Republican Daniel Perez and Democrat Gabriela Mayaudón.
Local election officials say there does not appear to be any major damage at any of the polling locations. It’s estimated power will be restored to the entire county by Sunday.