Get Ready for the Florida Primary – Aug. 28, 2018
Florida has two important elections this year — the Aug. 28 Primary and the Nov. 6 General Election.
What do I have to do to vote in the Primary?
First time voters in Florida must register by July 30. Registered voters can make updates to their voter record up to, and including, Election Day.
If you want to change party affiliation, you must do this by July 30 for the Aug. 28, 2018 Florida Primary. Once you’re registered, you can vote by mail (VBM), or vote early, or vote at the polls on Election Day.
I don’t understand the difference between the August and November elections. Isn’t the main election in November?
Local government races which impact day-to-day life are on the primary ballot. For example, decisions on roads, tax and finance, clean water, schools, traffic safety and neighborhood safety.
Your Primary ballot can be a mix of both partisan and non-partisan (no party) state and local races. Statewide, school board members are non-partisan and judicial races are always non-partisan. You could also have a local initiative.
Non-partisan Primary races have the potential to require run-off elections if no single candidate receives a majority vote. On the other hand, partisan races in the August Primary will not have run-off elections. The winner in the partisan contest will be on the November General Election ballot.
Why should I vote in the August election when the election for Governor isn’t until November?
There is something for every voter on the Florida August Primary ballot, including NPA voters (No Party Affiliation). The League encourages all voters to study their sample ballot prior to the Aug. 28 Primary.
The political party candidates on the November General Election ballot, including the candidates for Governor, are chosen in August. In November, the NPA (No Party Affiliated) candidates, minor party candidates, and potential write-in candidates will be on the ballot.
Do I have to vote for the candidate of the party I am registered in, or do I have to be a registered Independent to vote for anyone I choose?
The August Primary is a closed primary — participation is restricted only to voters registered with that party.
Any voter may change his/her party registration to participate in the primary election. For the Aug. 28 primary, voters must make any party affiliation change within 29 days of that Election Day (Deadline: July 30). Thanks to a new law in Florida, you may update your existing voter registration online.
If you elect to fill out a paper form, a new voter registration form must be signed and mailed to the Supervisor of Elections office in your county. (It may be downloaded online, or picked up at any public library).
You may change party affiliations as often as you like. There is no restriction.
I don’t remember how I’m registered. How can I find out?
I work every day as well as going to school. I don’t have time to vote.
Consider requesting a vote by mail ballot from your Supervisor of Elections. This can be done via phone or online. Once received, mark your ballot, sign the back of the envelope, and mail it back in at least 5 days prior to Election Day. You can track your ballot’s progress through the mail by going online in most counties. Your ballot must reach your local Supervisor of Elections office by 7 pm on Election Day.
Another option is Early Voting. Any voter can vote early, usually up to 8-14 days before Election Day at early voting sites. On Election Day, all voting will take place at your assigned polling place (precinct). Hours on Election Day are 7:00 am to 7:00 pm.
Where do I go to vote?
To find your polling location or precinct for voting on Election Day, check your voter status. To be safe, always check the location before you go to vote, conveniently located on your voter information card (or on your sample ballot). You can also check your Supervisor of Elections’ website. A number will be listed should you wish to call with multiple questions or you need special assistance.
How do I know who is running?
In most Florida counties, a sample ballot will be mailed to you before the election. You can also check your Supervisor of Elections website to view the sample ballot for your designated voting precinct.
If I’m not already registered, can I register and vote on Election Day?
No. You must be registered at least 29 days ahead of any Election Day in Florida. It’s state law. Other questions? The League of Women Voters of Florida has made it easy. For answers to many questions about voting in Florida or to find your local Supervisor of Election, go to www.bereadytovote.org. For the November General Election, we will post our nonpartisan Voter Guide which will offer Pros/Cons on the Constitutional Amendments on the ballot.
If I’m already registered in Florida, can I still submit a change of address up until Election Day?
What happens if I don’t vote in the August Primary?
A: The League encourages all voters to cast a ballot. Candidates are selected by those who turn up to vote.
How do I know my vote will be safe/protected from the threat of hackers?
Florida is a paper ballot state. There will always be a paper trail/paper record. What’s more, Florida also uses optical scanners, called tabulators, to count and accumulate votes. These tabulators are not connected to the internet. Vote with confidence.