Here's What Election Day Looks Like In Senate District 40 And House District 116 Primaries

Jul 25, 2017

Updated at 4:39 pm. 

It's election day for the primaries in Florida Senate District 40 and House District 116. Voters will decide which Republican and which Democrat will face off in the Senate District 40 race, and which Republican will run in the House District 116 race in September.

Read more: Get Ready To Vote: Special Primaries for Senate District 40 and House District 116 Are Tuesday

"We have to vote. In my country, we don't have that because it's a dictatorship," said Wilfredo Rabi after voting at the poll station located at St. Timothy's Catholic Church, located at 5400 SW 102nd avenue. 

The seats are open following former Senator Frank Artiles' resignation after he made a series of offensive remarks to two other lawmakers in a Tallahassee bar. Jose Felix Diaz resigned his seat in the house in order to run for Artiles' senate seat, forcing another special election in House District 116. 

Though many have already voted using absentee ballots, and others voted early in person, the campaigns have sent volunteers and representatives to polling places across the districts to see if they can sway any voters during their short walk from the car to the ballot. 

Republican candidates Jose Felix Diaz and Alex Diaz de la Portilla happened to visit the polling station located at St. Timothy's at the same time on Tuesday afternoon. Undaunted by the rain, both candidates expressed confidence that they will carry the election, and shook hands with voters as they arrived.

"I started at 7 this morning, this is the 35th  [voting place] I go to," said Diaz de la Portilla. "I've lost 20 pounds in this campaign. It's a people campaign, it's door to door... "

"We are going to have some sodas and pastelitos and watch those results come in," said Diaz while visiting the polling place. "It's going to be a great night."

Voters trickled in at Messiah Lutheran Church in University Park on Tuesday morning. As they drove in, volunteers from three separate campaigns tried to get the last word in. They estimated there had been fewer than 20 people arriving to vote between 7  and 10 am.

Dagoberto Matos voted in Tropical Park for the Senate Primaries. He came to the U.S. from Cuba in 1965. "I'm happy to be voting in this country," he said. He planned to make sure his wife and brother-in-law followed suit before the day was over.

Representatives from three different campaigns share the shade in the parking lot at Messiah Lutheran Church.
Credit Holly Pretsky / WLRN

Luis Perez Codina and Mirium Cajiga staked out a spot in the parking lot at West Dade Regional Library to support Jose Mallea. Cajiga is Mallea's aunt.
Credit Holly Pretsky / WLRN

Gabriel Perez planned to spend the day at West Dade Regional Library to support his friend and District 116 candidate Daniel Perez.
Credit Holly Pretsky / WLRN