DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — Polls open for the Okaloosa County primary race at 7 a.m. on August 23. The fate of 4 county races could be decided when the polls close at 7 Tuesday night.

Supervisor of elections Paul Lux said county races have been misunderstood in the past. The School Board and County Commissioner seats are voted on ‘at large,’ meaning voters not only have to vote for a specific district seat but all of them.

School Board Races:

RaceIncumbentChallenger
District 1Lamar WhiteJerry Buckman
District 3Linda EvanchykDarrel Barnhill
District 5Diane KelleyCara Marion

County Commissioner District 2 race:

Candidates:
Carolyn Newcomer Ketchel (Incumbent)
Matt Edwin Turpin
CareySue Beasley

The School Board race has been a hot topic with 3 incumbents facing 3 newcomers. Okaloosa County School District Superintendent Marcus Chambers gave his endorsement to the current board members White, Evanchyk and Kelley, speaking out against a campaign to replace the board.

Yes for Okaloosa Schools has been a movement to change and replace school board members since 2019. The group is backing the challengers Buckman, Barnhill and Marion for the election. The school board works by a majority vote of 5 members, making 3 a powerhouse in the system.

With only two candidates running for each school board seat, Lux said a majority will be reached Tuesday night. The unofficial results will be posted Thursday, August 25. WKRG News 5 will have results Tuesday night from county staff.

The Board of County Commissioner District 2 race has three candidates. Lux said if 1 of the 3 does not reach the majority Tuesday at the primary, it will go to the November Election date for a final vote.

The elected school and county board members will take their seats two weeks after the November 8 election.

Other races around Okaloosa County, such as the Destin City Mayoral race will be held on November 8 election day. More information on the races and boring rules can be found on the Okaloosa County election website.

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