Polls open in St. Pete; Voters weigh in on ‘Lens’ - FOX 13 News

Polls open in St. Pete; Voters weigh in on ‘Lens’

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The image is on magnets, keychains, posters and postcards. The Pier is a real slice of St. Petersburg.

Tuesday, voters will decide the future of the iconic structure.

LINK: Find your polling place

The decision is part of a pivotal election that could steer the city in a new direction.

There are five candidates in all, but mainly three actual contenders: current Mayor Bill Foster, Rick Kriseman and Kathleen Ford.

Mayor Foster has led recent polls with 30 percent of the vote.

Rick Kriseman, a former city councilman and state representative, was in second.

Kathleen Ford is third in recent polls. She is also a former city council member, and this is her third time running for mayor.

Voters have a critical decision to make on the Pier's future, but the wording on the ballot is tricky.

The question posed on the ballot is a referendum to end the contract of the current Lens architect.

A 'yes' vote terminates the contract, meaning no more Lens. The city would go back to the drawing board.

A 'no' vote keeps the contract in place, and plans for the Lens move forward.

Some voters say they're planning to vote to scrap the Lens altogether.

"I think it's a bunch of boloney. I don't think it will pass, because it's too radical," said Ed Seiling, a St. Pete resident.

"When you look at downtown, I don't see any, I don't see anything like it. It doesn't match who we are," said voter Opal Smith.

Another hot topic is the future of the Rays.

Whoever wins the mayor's race will play a big role in either keeping the team in St. Pete, or allowing them to look outside the city.

Kathleen Ford has said it's not fair for the team to leave, since the city and taxpayers would be responsible for big debt through 2025.

But Mayor Foster and Rick Kriseman agree the Rays should be allowed to look in Hillsborough County.

Any candidate who receives a majority of the votes, 50 percent plus one, wins the mayor's seat.

If no one gets a majority, the two candidates with the most votes will be placed on the November 5th ballot.

Stay with FOX 13 as we follow updated results.

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