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Election 2020: Why local races matter

You might not realize it, but local races are the ones that affect voters directly.

TAMPA, Fla — With the 2020 general election less than two months away, you probably have a good idea who is on the ballot and who you will vote for. 

If you’re not sure who is on the ballot, you can find a sample ballot on the supervisor of elections website in the county where you live. 

The other option is to visit Ballotpedia.org. After typing in "sample ballot lookup" in the search bar. You will need to enter your street, city, state and zip code. 

Depending on what state you live in, you will see several key positions on the ballot, including candidates running for president, Congress, the Supreme Court, and the House of Representatives.

And, depending on what county you live in, mid-way through the ballot you’ll see candidates running for county sheriff, county courts, school board and county commission.

RELATED: How to research politicians running for public office

Why local races matter

You might not realize it, but local races are the ones that affect voters directly. 

Take the county appraiser for example. If you’re planning to invest in property, whether its land, a home or a business, you’re going to pay property tax.

The property tax is based on the value of the home or land. The person who determines the value is the county appraiser. If you’re trying to qualify for a homestead exemption, the county appraiser is the person who will sign off on that request.

Then there’s the person who runs the tax collector office for the county. The tax collector collects taxes and fees from driver licenses, registration fees for cars, boats and motorcycles as well as fishing and hunting licenses. 

The tax collector is responsible to report accurate numbers to the state.

RELATED: Flipping a coin: How some tied elections are settled on the local level

Research candidates

Take another look at your sample ballot to see who is running for local public office in your county. 

You can research each candidate on their campaign website and social media platforms. 

If you have questions you would like answered before making your decision, some of the candidates welcome emails. 

To learn everything there is to know about the 2020 general election head to 10TampaBay.com/vote

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