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Date of Issue: January 16, 2008

Early voting begins this week

The polls opened this week for voters eager to cast ballots in the Jan. 29 presidential preference primary.

Early voting began Jan. 14 and was to continue through Jan. 26 at the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections office, 321 15th St. W., Bradenton. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Florida law requires voters to present identification with a signature and photo.

Absentee balloting also is under way, with applications for an absentee ballot available to complete at www.votemanatee.com/absent_reqform.asp.

For voters waiting until election day, polling hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29. Locations are, for voters in Anna Maria, Anna Maria City Hall, 10005 Gulf Drive; for voters in Holmes Beach, two locations, either Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 6608 Marina Drive, or St. Bernard Catholic Church, 248 S. Harbor Drive; and Tingley Memorial Library, 111 Second St. N., for Bradenton Beach voters.

Voters should check their voter identification card for their designated polling place.

Voters are making primary choices for Republican or Democratic candidates for president, as well as deciding a proposed constitutional amendment on property tax reform.

The Democratic primary ballot includes a “vote for one” choice of Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Hillary Clinton, Christopher J. Dodd, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Dennis J. Kucinich, Barack Obama and William “Bill” Richardson. Biden and Dodd have dropped out of the race, but their names remain on the Florida ballot.

The Republican primary ballot includes a “vote for one” choice of Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, Alan Keyes, John McCain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Tom Tancredo or Fred Thompson.

The ballot question is a “yes” or “no” vote on changing the Florida Constitution relating to property taxation.

With respect to homestead property, the revision would increase the homestead exemption except for school district taxes and allow homestead property owners to transfer up to $500,000 of their Save-Our-Homes benefits to their next homestead.

With respect to non-homestead property, the revision would provide a $25,000 exemption for tangible personal property and limit assessment increases for specified non-homestead real property except for school district taxes.

For more information about voting, visit www.votemanatee.com or call 941-741-3823.