It’s Election Day: Here’s What You Need To Know

Ballot boxRegistered voters in Lakeland go to the polls today to select a new mayor, vote in three City Commission races and decide whether to change the form of government to strong mayor. Polls close at 7 p.m. Read on to find out what’s on the ballot, where to vote, how to do last-minute research and where to get results tonight.

BALLOT: Here’s a sample ballot. Races include:

Mayor – Four candidates, all men, are running for the position currently occupied by Howard Wiggs, who is unable to run because of term limits. They are Christopher Diaz, James Green, Patrick Jones and Bill Mutz. If the strong-mayor issue passes today, the new mayor will become the city’s chief executive in January. If not, he will assume the current position, which chairs the City Commission and performs ceremonial duties.

City Commission Southeast District – Scott Franklin and Sandy Toledo face off for the seat currently held by Edie Yates, who has reached term limits.

City Commission Southwest District – Michael Dunn, Larry Durrence, Jorge Fonseca and Pablo Sologaistoa are running for the seat currently held by Don Selvage, who chose not to seek re-election after two terms.

City Commission At-Large Seat – Incumbent Jim Malless faces challenges from Kathy Smith Barsotti, Stephanie Madden, Laurel Pullo and Ricky Shirah.

Charter change – A citizens group is proposing a change to the city charter that would make a mayor who’s elected by popular vote the city’s chief executive rather than a city manager appointed by elected city commissioners.

While some of the city commissioners represent a geographic district (see a district map), they are elected in city-wide races. A runoff election will be held Dec. 5 to decide any races where no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote today.

LEARN MORE

Strong mayor: Our FAQ reviews the main issues in the proposed charter change.

City commission races: Our chart summarizes candidate positions on key issues. Check below the chart for fuller explanations from the candidates.

Review news articles about the races from a variety of sources, as curated by TheCityZenShip.org.

Review campaign contributions and spending for all campaigns as compiled from city records by TheCityZenShip.org. (Last week’s reportss have not been added there yet; you can see them here and here.)

View Videos of all candidates, produced by the City of Lakeland Communications Department.

Check Facebook and campaign website links here

VOTING

Polling places are listed here.

Find your polling place using this map

RESULTS

We’ll be posting results tonight as soon as they’re available on the home page of LkldNow.com.