PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - Pasco County set a record for most vote-by-mail ballots in county history. It's not too late to submit a request to be included in vote-by-mail. Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley reassures Florida voters that voting by mail is another safe option this season ahead of the November 3rd General Elections. “We’ve been doing No Excuse, Vote By Mail since 2002,” said Corley. “So we’re in a good place without vote-by-mail processing and tabulation.” But what makes this year different is the amount of ballots expected to come back via mail. Thursday, Corley’s office says they mailed out over 130,000 vote-by-mail ballots representing about a third of their entire voter roll, making it a historic year. “To put it in perspective, in 2016, the entire vote by mail ballots cast in the general election was about 68,000. We are sending out 130,000 requests and that’s only the mass mailing. We’re going to keep getting requests through into a good chunk of October.” They’re also breaking records with the number of early voting days. “We are going to start on October 19th and run through the 31st. We’ve expanded locations. We’re using gymnasiums.” And it has mostly to do with the pandemic. “We’re still going to have in-person voting, we’ll have safety measures but, you know, because some of the social distancing guidelines, for example, and the expected turnout, there’s going to be lines and waits at early voting election day,” said Corley. But the important part isn’t over. “7:00 pm on election day, that ballot has to be back to our office. You can drop it off a myriad of ways. You can, of course, mail it back,” said Corley. “So don’t delay! Don’t wait until two days before and mail it. It’s too important. I would say, you know, give it about at least a week and you can track it, and if we don’t get it back in time you can certainly go to an election day polling place on election day.” Corley says you cannot return it to an election day polling place. But if you aren’t someone who requested a vote-by-mail ballot, he has some advice for you too. “We’re doing everything we can but voters need to be a little understanding and patient. It’s a pandemic. And it’s a very expected historic turnout so that’s a recipe for a little bit of a wait time. But if there’s something worth waiting for, I think we’d all agree, voting is it,” he said. As a reminder, the ballot must be back in the supervisor of elections office by 7:00 pm on election day or the vote will not be counted. You can mail it back in advance or drop it off at an early voting location. Voters still have time to request vote-by-mail ballots by using the online request form at PascoVotes.gov. ©2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
CW44 News At 10_10.29.20_Alvarez_DuelingRalliesDueling rallies. Both residential candidates are in Tampa today fighting for Florida votes. Democratic nominee Joe Biden hosted a socially-distanced rally after campaigning earlier in South Florida. CW44's Andrea Alvarez spoke with the voters at that Biden drive in event.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is unveiling its new behavioral resources unit.The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is unveiling its new behavioral resources unit.
Body Cameras Coming Soon To Pinellas County Sheriff's DeputiesPINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - Body cameras will soon be fitted on Pinellas County deputies. On Wednesday, October 28, 2020, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri implemented the body-worn camera program at the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. Recognizing the public's desire for body-worn cameras and the sheriff's own desire to maintain absolute transparency, the program will initially outfit 30 deputies for a field trial. Those deputies are from areas throughout the agency that have contact with the public. The field trial will serve to work through logistics and draft policy which will lead to the outfitting of more than 800 deputies. Believing technology has exponentially changed for the better, Sheriff Gualtieri has selected leading manufacturer Axon, formerly known as Taser International. The body-worn cameras will automatically activate when a deputy draws their firearm, turns on their electronic control weapon (TASER), and can also be manually activated by the deputy. The program will cost approximately three million dollars per year for the next five years and will include the body-worn camera, TASER, a new in-car video system and holster activation which will work in conjunction with one another. Sheriff Gualtieri stated, "Body-worn cameras are something that I absolutely endorse and embrace. I am listening to our community that overwhelmingly supports and wants these cameras, and I am committed to making that happen." ©2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Amendment 2 Advocate Speaks Out About Fight For $15 In FloridaWe come in contact with these workers nearly every single day while stopping for food picking up groceries. Some of us are these workers. Local advocates for raising the minimum wage across the state are speaking out about their struggle and why Amendment 2 on the ballot is vital.
Early Voting Sites: Pinellas Has 5 Sites To Hillsborough's 26The League of Women Voters of North Pinellas County discuss discrimination, long lines and a lack of early voting sites in Pinellas County.
President Trump Votes In Person In FL, Insists Vote-By-Mail Not SecureAs Election Day grows near, President Donald Trump is still publicly casting doubt on the safety of Florida's vote-by-mail election process. The woman responsible for making sure Florida's election runs smoothly spoke with CW44 News At 10's election expert, Jim DeFede to address reports of foreign interference and her confidence in Florida's vote-by-mail process.
Ivanka Stumps In Florida Ahead Of President Trump's Wednesday VisitFighting for Florida, Ivanka Trump spent part of the day stumping in Sarasota for her father, President Donald Trump. Ivanka held Make America Great Again rally there. She also tweeted out a reminder to get out and vote early, pushing the largely republican dominated area to show their support for her father for another term. Ivanka also held an event in Miami tonight ahead of President Trump's scheduled visit there tomorrow.
Zeta Intensifies, Packing Life-Threatening Storm Surge To Gulf Coast(CW44 News At 10 | CNN) - Zeta is now packing a life-threatening storm surge that threatens the Gulf coast from Louisiana and all of the Florida panhandle. As of early morning on Wednesday, Zeta has strengthened back into a hurricane as it approaches the Gulf Coast.
Crook Gets Away With $15k In Antique Rings In St. PeteThe St. Petersburg Police need help identifying a brazen thief caught on camera stealing $15,000 worth of rings.
Vote-By-Mail Tips: How To Avoid Common ErrorsPASCO COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - With vote-by-mail setting historical records this election year, CW44 News At 10 spoke with Pasco's Supervisor of Elections to help voters identify common errors and avoid them. “We sent out about almost 40% of our entire voter roll [who] requested vote-by-mail ballots,” said Brian Corley, Pasco County Supervisor of Elections. With vote-by-mail shattering records across the country this year, mostly due to the pandemic, voters are raising questions about how to vote without having their ballot returned due to any voter error. And since some of these details are vital to your vote being counted, we've created a checklist. Afteryou’vefilled in your ballot, put your ballot in the secrecy envelope and the secrecy envelope in the postage-paid return envelope. Enclose only your ballot. Now this step is important: seal it and sign your name on the back where indicated. The signature on file at the supervisor of elections office is the signature that will be used to verify the one on your certificate envelope. Print the date next to your signature and mail your ballot back to -or drop it off at- any county supervisor of elections office or ballot drop-off location. If you make a mistake, that’s ok. Just call the supervisor of elections office to request another ballot. Their office will only accept one ballot per person. “I hear this a lot with vote by mail ballots: ‘someone can vote twice if you get two ballots.’ No you really can’t. If you vote by mail and you send two back, there’s safe-guards in place. It only allows the receipt of the first one that comes back in,” said Corley. Keep in mind, the later your return your mail ballot, the less time you have to fix any signature deficiencies. Any errors are determined by the canvassing board who checks the validity of the ballot. Because postal delivery service has changed, voters are advised to allow at least one week for their ballot to be returned by mail to the supervisor of elections office. Note that if you received a mail ballot but changed your mind and want to vote at your precinct, remember to take your mail ballot with you to your polling place. Poll workers will cancel that mail ballot and you’ll be allowed to vote a regular ballot there. Remember, vote-by-mail ballots won’t be accepted at polling places. You must drop them off at one of the Supervisor of Elections offices by 7 p.m. on election day. There is no limit to the number of ballots a person may return on behalf of other voters. And don’t forget, you can track your ballot.
League Of Women Voters of St. Pete Focus: Voter Suppression & Early VotingPINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - Week one of early voting across Tampa Bay is now wrapping up one local organization is working to make sure the voting process has gone smoothly in St. Petersburg and other areas. CW44's Andrea Alvarez sat down with those leaders, Friday to discuss the issues. "We're really passionate about reducing voter suppression and just making sure that we have - folks have unfettered access to their democracy," said Linsey Grove, President of League of Women Voters of St. Pete. Celebrating 100 years right now, the League of Women Voters has had their work cut out for them in 2020. They're a nonpartisan political organization that focuses on empowering voters, defending democracy and urging the community to advocate for issues that they care about. "The St. Petersburg area is a local chapter that's a part of the Florida league." The St. Petersburg chapter in Tampa Bay was one of the original founders of the Florida State league, so they've been around for quite some time. "Part of our decades-long process, we actually, every single year come up with what we call a program, and the program is just made up of the issues that our membership decides to work on. But then, of course, we also have issues that are local that we care about. And a lot of times they align with state priorities and even federal priorities. For instance, one of our issues that we focus on is immigration. We also work on reproductive justice, we work on gun safety."
Local Researcher & Election Official Discuss Voter Fraud Allegations(CW44 News At 10) - CW44 News At 10 reported part 1 on Monday that researchers at USF released new findings from a statewide presidential election survey. In part two, we digging deeper into some of the concerns voters have shared and what that data means. Among the different concerns voters have voiced during this election are lack of fairness and voter fraud across the united states. More specifically having to do with the vote-by-mail system after current elected officials have pointed to the system as being corrupt. “It is a safe option. There are safeguards in place to make sure that votes are counted; votes are counted accurately and fairly,” said Joshua Scacco, Associate Professor of Political Communication, USF. “There’s simply just no evidence of widespread, massive orchestrated voter fraud,” said Brian Corley, Supervisor of Elections for Pasco County. A survey was conducted and released Tuesday by researchers at the University of South Florida on the 2020 presidential election. Of the 600 Florida residents who responded to the survey, 1/3, or 29%, stated they were either “not very confident” or “not at all confident” that this election would be conducted fairly. CW44's Andrea Alvarez sat down with Professor Scacco who was one of three researchers behind that data to talk about those opinions being formed based on this election. “Even as some candidates denigrate mail balloting, their political parties that they’re affiliated with are still telling their supporters to vote by mail ballot,” said Scacco. “For example, the President of the United States has voted by mail ballot in Florida, as well as a number of members of his administration have also voted by mail ballot. So, this is one of those instances where words matter, and what the words are doing is they’re potentially impacting faith that individuals have in the election process,” said Scacco. When asked if there have ever been issues in Pasco County with voter fraud, Corley replied, “In my 14 year tenure, there’s been less than a handful, but again, one is too many, certainly.” He elaborated there is no evidence to show that those cases were widespread enough to impact the outcome of the presidential race. “The documented cases tend to be very, very small in scale and they’re individual, actually. They’re not calculated to alter outcomes,” said Corley. While we don’t get a look at practices helping to prevent voter fraud which Corley says, “could reveal some of our methods and sources, of course,” he reassured CW44 that the process works. Scacco also says the bottom line is that practices are in place and they’re working. He describes, “We see isolated instances where some campaigns have broken state laws. The key component is, we know about those because - they’ve been discovered - because the system has worked.” ©2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Early Voting Sets Records In Pasco County, Anticipate Breaking MorePASCO COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - Pasco County voting officials tell CW44 News At 10, early voting records are still being broken this week. Officials are working to address voter concerns at the polls. Among those concerns is potential voting harassment. Pasco County early voting has gone exceedingly and historically well during its first week, according to Supervisor of Elections, Brian Corley. "We sent out about - almost 40% of our entire voter roll requested vote-by-mail ballots. And we've gotten back nearly 100,000, which is historic in and of itself." Early voting started Monday in Pasco County. "And that was actually our busiest first day of early voting in the history of early voting." Corley says that trend has continued despite inclement weather there. "I have to say I've been so impressed with with the voters and I really want to thank them because - we're trying to administer the most scrutinized election ever during a pandemic. And the voters have been pretty understanding." New this year are the use of gymnasiums as an early voting spot, which Corley says has been a major help with turnout. When asked about any challenges over the last week during early voting, Corley responded, "Probably managing expectations, because we notified voters back in May, that, you know, we didn't know if we were gonna have polling places my poll workers and we knew there'd be lines at a minimum and there are lines," But he says voters have been comforted when they show up to find out safety protocols are strictly in place to create a safe, social-distanced early voting process. However, safety protocols have now gone further than social-distancing.
Peloton Recall: 27,000 Bikes Affected(CW44 News At 10) - The fitness company, Peloton is recalling 27,000 bikes in the US. Find out below if your bike is affected and how to order replacement parts. As the second wave of Covid spreads across the U.S., many people are opting for home gyms. If a Peloton bike is in your arsenal of home fitness, be sure to confirm if your bike is part of 27,000 that have been recalled. The fitness company reports at least 120 complaints of pedals breaking which can cit rider's legs. At least 16 people have been injured with five of those requiring medical treatment. According to Peloton's website, the recall covers out-of-warranty PR70P clip-in pedals due to risk of axle breaks. PR70P pedals are the first generation of pedals and were fitted on Bikes sold between July 2013 and May 2016. If you bought your Bike between July 2013 and May 2016 and have never replaced your pedals, you may still have PR70P pedals fitted on your Bike.
USF Shares Results of Statewide Presidential Election SurveyTAMPA BAY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - University of South Florida researchers are sharing new findings from a statewide presidential election survey. USF tells CW44 News At 10, the survey measures attitudes and opinions as we get closer to the general election. CW44 News At 10's Andrea Alvarez spoke with a USF education official on Tuesday who shared his team of researchers are looking deeper into election result predictions and into what shapes your opinion before voting. Some of us research. Some of us are focusing on ethics. And some of us are just ready for change. Whatever our purpose is for voting in 2020, a team of researchers at USF has been keeping track of it. Associate Professor of Political Communication at USF, Joshua Scacco says, "What we're finding is that the election could potentially be shifting some very important ways in which people vote, but also ways in which people are worried and anxious about the state of government and the state of democracy in the United States."
Day One Of Early Voting In Hillsborough County - Over 13,000HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - Brisk - that’s the word being used to describe day one of early voting in Hillsborough County. While vote-by-mail has been breaking records across the county, it's not the only option. For voters who prefer to vote in person, early voting polls opened up Monday in Hillsborough County and those numbers are already trailing 2016’s total numbers. “Normally, the very first day of early voting in the presidential year, we have a big turnout. We had 18,000 people vote in 2016. We’ve already had over 13,000 people vote today,” said Craig Latimer, Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections.
Undercover Drug Sting Ends In 3 Arrests, 2 Illegally In U.S. From MexicoAn undercover operation Polk County results in three arrests, two of which are in the U.S. illegally. The investigation revealed Meth trafficking connections to Mexico, Colorado, Atlanta and Polk County. Katie Johnston reports.
St. Pete Car Wash Gearing Up To Deliver A Spooky Surprise For HalloweenST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - The next time you head out to your local car wash, make sure to do a double-take on those car windows. You might have a spooky masked man right outside your car. A St. Pete car wash company says they’re going all-out this year to help kids celebrate Halloween safely! When you think of a car wash, you probably don’t think you’ll run in to Michael Myers while you’re vacuuming your car out, but that’s exactly what you’ll find at Woodie's Wash Shack Wave of Terror Drive-Thru Haunted Car Wash in St. Petersburg, but keep in mind, it’s all for a good cause. “While you’re on the grounds of the property, there will be some creepy creatures wandering around, maybe banging on your windows. Don’t worry, they won’t touch your paint job,” said Jenny Beadle, Marketing Director at Woodie's Wash Shack.
Dark Web Bust In Inverness: 2 Arrested And 16,000 Pills, $143K & Firearms SeizedTwo Floridians were arrested in Inverness Wednesday for racketeering and a host of other charges for their role in selling counterfeit drugs on the dark web. Katie Johnston reports.
Pinellas County Teen Saves His Father's LifePINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - A Pinellas County father lives to tell the story of how his son saved his life. And Wednesday morning, the duo was reunited with first responders who witnessed everything. “We never know what we’re going to get when we get a.. phone rings and comes into our consoles,” said Matthew Albright, a Pinellas County Public Safety Telecommunicator, formerly known as a dispatcher. Paramedics responded to the 1200 block of 14th Court SW in Largo on August 30th after being dispatched for a man going into cardiac arrest. “We had known that there was a cardiac arrest going on. We knew that bystander CPR was in progress,” said Niesa Jones, a responding Sunstar paramedic. “To get to him, it was a very small area. It’s kind of something we’re used to so we just started moving furniture to get access to him.” But what they didn’t expect upon arrival was an 18-year-old performing CPR to help save his father’s life. “I had come downstairs for a snack and my grandma started yelling at my dad because he was making a noise,” said Zachary Musgrave, 19, David’s son. That’s when he called 911 and Albright picked up on the other end. “They walked me through chest compressions and said that the paramedics were on their way,” said Zach Musgrave. “I was pretty terrified. I just held myself together the best I could.” Paramedics tell CW44 News At 10 it’s because of Zachary’s bravery that his father is still alive today to tell their story. “I don’t remember that night…um… from that Wednesday up to the time that I woke up in the hospital, I don’t remember anything,” said David Musgrave, Zachary’s father. “I’m so proud of him. If it wasn’t for him starting the process, I probably wouldn’t be here. I’m just so proud of him.” Wednesday, Largo Medical Center staff reunited the patient and son with their team of paramedics, EMTs and telecommunicators from that night. “I’ve been doing this for 12 years and this is only the second time that I’ve actually gotten to meet somebody that I had a hand in helping,” said Albright. Paramedics took the opportunity to encourage others to follow in Zach’s footsteps. “Bystander CPR is something that we stress! Ideally, we want everyone to know CPR. Basic CPR saves lives and that’s absolutely what happened. His son saved his life,” said Jones. “It’s a scary situation for anybody, especially when it’s your own family member, so, just to even get up and get in there is great,” said Ryan Pavao, responding Sunstar EMT. In light of the heroic actions, Largo Medical Center staff will hold a virtual, hands only CPR demonstration for the community via Facebook Live on November 3, 2020 at noon. ©2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Howl-O-Scream Is Back, But By Reservation This YearTAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - It's one of the creepiest and yet most sought after nights during the Halloween season in Tampa Bay. Howl-O-Scream has been around for 21 years. Obviously, it's changed throughout the years and there's been a lot of evolution. So with the scare of a pandemic now being part of our reality, rather than canceling Howl-O-Scream this year, Busch Gardens officials made some big adjustments.
Hope & Winter Celebrate Their Birthdays At Clearwater Marine AquariumCLEARWATER, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - Two of Tampa bay’s favorite dolphins celebrated their birthdays over weekend. Winter and Hope, two rescued dolphins at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium turned 15 and 10. “[Winter] is the one that’s turning 15 tomorrow. She came to our facility back in 2005. Now, at that time, she was estimated to be about 2 to 3 months old and that’s how we can get her birth date. She was found on December tenth, so that’s why tomorrow, October 10th will be her birthday,” said Allison Twedt, Animal Care Specialist, Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Winter is widely known for having her prosthetic tail and for starring in the 2011 movie, Dolphin Tale. “She was entangled in that crab trap rope which was tightly wrapped around her tail, unfortunately cutting off all the blood circulation, so she did end up losing her tail flukes and that’s why she has no tail to this day. But she was able to adapt, figure out how to swim on her own,” said Twedt. Hope turned 10 on Sunday. “She was actually found 5 years and 1 day after Winter, so back in 2010,” she said. Hope was estimated to be the same age when she was rescued at 2 to 3 months old, landing her birthday on October 11th. “Now for hope, she was found without her mom, and at such a young age, they’re not able to survive on their own at that young just because they need those survival skills such as hunting, learning how to communicate, and their mother teaches them those skills,” said Twedt. The community was invited to be part of the weekend-long birthday bash. “The animal care specialists will be diving with them doing some enrichment, some birthday festivities and then at 2:00[pm], they will be receiving their birthday cakes on both Saturday and Sunday,” Twedt told CW44 News on Friday. “We actually made their birthday cake, Winter's, I guess I should say, and we’re going to be setting it up [Friday], making sure it looks nice and pretty. But we make that out of ice and then Jell-o. It’s sugar free so it’s not like the Jell-o that we eat.” Guests brought birthday cards and presents for the two dolphins from their pre-made wish list.
'Pedestrian Crosswalk Provisions A Must' After 3 Fatalities Over WeekendTAMPA BAY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - It was a deadly weekend across Tampa Bay as several traffic accidents led to fatalities at intersections known to be dangerous for pedestrian crossings. Over the weekend, three deaths were the result of separate pedestrian versus vehicle accidents across Tampa Bay. CW44’a Andrea Alvarez spoke with an local advocate for pedestrian safety who says crosswalk provisions are long overdue. “When you become a driver in Florida, you always have a higher duty to everybody around you,” said Edward Reyes, a lawyer at Tampa’s Reyes Law Firm. Reyes has become a local advocate for pedestrian safety across Tampa Bay, and because Florida ranks among some of the deadliest states for pedestrians, he’s speaking out after three deaths happened over the weekend surrounding this very issue. “People come here to vacation, people come here to walk around. A lot of these accidents typically happen in lower income neighborhoods because they can’t afford insurance, they can’t afford a car, there’s also not as many crosswalks, there’s also not as many provisions in place,” said Reyes. In a 2019 report taken on 20 of the deadliest cities in the country for pedestrians, 9 were in Florida. Friday night, Clearwater police and fire crews responded to this intersection of Belleair Road and Missouri Ave after a woman was struck by at least one vehicle. Police say the woman was attempting to cross Missouri Avenue against the pedestrian signal when she was struck. She was one of three who died from their injuries after being struck by vehicles in intersections over the weekend across Tampa Bay. In Hillsborough County, a man was hit on Hillsborough Avenue after walking into the road for unknown reasons just before 4:00 am Sunday. Hillsborough County Sheriff’s officials tell me two responding deputies accidentally struck the body which was still lying in the road after previously being hit and killed by the citizen driver. The Florida highway patrol is now investigating the incident. Another fatal pedestrian versus vehicle accident happened in Largo Saturday involving a juvenile male who passed away from his injuries. “There’s two parts to it. You have to think of what the pedestrian’s doing and also what the driver was doing because both people are distracted many times and both may not be following the laws many times,” said Reyes. He says it’s all fact specific, after the fact. But what the focus needs to be on is preventing the incidents in the first place. “It would be nice is there were certain provisions in place. I think that may reduce some of the injuries as well,” he said. In an effort to protect the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's office says they’re turning their attention to focus on dangerous intersections. CW44 News At 10 will provide further updates as they become available. ©2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
St. Pete Insurance Agent Arrested, Exploited Elderly Couple For $100kAn Insurance Agent in St. Petersburg has been arrested for exploitation of elderly victims to the amount of $100,000. Detectives are searching for any other potential victims. Katie Johnston reports