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3-week vote will call Florida's tails

By MICHAEL SANDLER, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 13, 2003

TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Jeb Bush has cast his vote for Florida's commemorative quarter. But don't ask him to reveal it.

Cast your vote at myflorida.com
"It's a secret ballot," Bush joked as he kicked off a three-week campaign to select the state's signature coin.

Bush on Wednesday cast his vote on the Internet with five local elementary schoolchildren at the Capitol, choosing one of five designs winnowed down from an original field of 1,500.

The quarters each focused on well-known Florida themes: the Everglades; St. Augustine; America's Spaceport; the Fishing Capital of the World; and a quarter with a ship, a space shuttle and palm trees calling Florida "Gateway to Discovery."

"I wish we could have all five because they represent the breadth and depth of our state," Bush said.

Anyone can vote, even non-Floridians, at myflorida.com. The deadline is 9:30 a.m. on March 5.

The governor encouraged those without computers to vote at schools or libraries, or to mail their selection to the Governor's Office of Citizen Services.

The state encourages people to vote once, though nothing prohibits multiple votes. "We're encouraging one vote, but we're not going to spend millions of dollars to provide security for that," he said.

The children seemingly favored the St. Augustine coin, leading the race with three of the five votes. The other children split between the two coins that featured images of the space shuttle.

"I just thought it was a good symbol for Florida," said Derrick Durham, a fourth-grade student in Tallahassee. "We've been learning about it in school, so I know a lot about it."

Caroline Lewis, a third-grade student from Quincy, picked that one, too. But she favored it because of the fish featured in the foreground.

The coin will be the 27th in the 50 State Quarters Program.

-- Michael Sandler can be reached at sandler@sptimes.com .

How to vote

To vote online, visit myflorida.com and click the box for "Florida Commemorative Quarter."

Votes can also be mailed to Governor's Office of Citizen Services, The Capitol, Tallahassee, FL 32399

Voting ends at 9:30 a.m. on March 5.

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