VOTE 2024: Chickens in Valparaiso, Republicans on the ballot in March

Nikki Haley exits the Republican Primary, paving the way for Donald Trump as the sole contender, yet Florida's Presidential Primary Election persists on March 19th. Meanwhile, Valparaiso residents find themselves at the polls, not for presidential candidates, but to decide on a non-binding referendum regarding the contentious issue of allowing chickens within city limits.

Nikki Haley dropped out of the Republican Primary for president after the March 5th ‘Super Tuesday’ contests in 13 states, leaving former President Donald Trump the last person standing for the contest. But that doesn’t mean the cancellation of the Florida Presidential Primary Election that is supposed to take place on March 19th. 

Registered Republican voters across the Sunshine State can still go to the polls to vote for one of seven candidates who are still on their ballots. 

Democrats in Florida won’t have a primary—President Joe Biden is the only candidate. Therefore the Democratic party of Florida will not need to host a primary to choose a candidate. 

banner ad for tracy jennette realtor

A Ballot Gone Fowl

So, even though the presidential primary is a moot point now – voters in Valparaiso will still have the opportunity to go to the polls over one issue – chickens. 

You might remember last year, some residents of the Vale of Paradise attended several City Commission Meetings to cry fowl because they were not allowed to raise chickens within city limits, per city ordinance. They argued the ability to raise chickens was a freedom issue. Some advocates mentioned the 2024 election as a sign that people must prepare for a postapocalyptic scenario. Several opponents of allowing chickens in the city limits laid an egg on those concerns, citing health concerns and the presence of bears in the area. 

The Commission decided to put a non-binding referendum on the ballot to stop the complaints. 

“I think my opinion is that my opinion, whether I want chickens, or whether I don’t want chickens, is not important, said Commissioner Hamilton in a May 2023 meeting of the Valparaiso City Commission, “and even though sometimes they’re not as vocal, I’ve been hammered with people that are very much against [allowing chickens].” Hamilton added, “I would encourage the Commission to choose to put in a referendum because then that’s the only fair way, and everybody gets to look at it. And that’s why I think it would just settle on this.”

However, if it passes, the vote will not automatically create a chicken-permissive environment in the city. It is non-binding, meaning it would not be enshrined in the city charter. The vote does not require the City Commission to pass an ordinance allowing chickens. 

More Local News

Download our app to stay in the know about niceville

Keep Local News Free!

$5 per month helps keep Mid Bay News independent and free for everybody!