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What you need to know: A voter's guide to the Florida primary

Primary day is Aug. 23.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Florida primary election is on Aug. 23, and here's what voters should know.

The primary election is held to nominate party candidates to be voted for in the general election (on Nov. 8) to fill a national, state, county or district office. They are also used to choose convention delegates and party leaders.

The offices that will be voted on to nominate candidates are:

  • State executive offices (governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, chief financial officer and agriculture commissioner)
  • United States senators
  • United States representatives
  • State legislators
  • Local offices (varies by municipality)

Florida is a closed primary election state. This means that in order to vote, you must be a registered member of a political party and then may vote for respective party candidates or nominees. 

However, there are some instances where all registered voters can vote regardless of party registration.

There are several nonpartisan races. Judicial and school board offices as well as special districts or local referendums can be voted on by all registered voters even without party affiliation. These will differ across county ballots so check your sample ballot to know which are relevant for you. 

A second instance is if all the candidates for an office have the same party affiliation and the winner of the primary election will not face opposition in the general election. Then, any registered voter can vote for any of those candidates in the primary.

The deadline to register for the primary election is July 25, and eligible individuals can register or update their registration here anytime before that. 

Who is eligible:

  • U.S. citizens
  • Legal residents of Florida
  • Legal residents of the county in which they seek to be registered
  • People who are at least 18 (If you are at least 16, you can pre-register)
  • People who haven't been declared "mentally incompetent" by a court of law
  • People who haven't been convicted of a felony, or have been convicted but have had rights restored.

For the online application, you need:

  • Florida driver's license or identification card issued by the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles 
  • Issue date of this card
  • Last four digits of your social security

If you do not have these, you will have to print, sign and then mail or deliver your completed registration to your county Supervisor of Elections office.

The early voting period is Aug. 13-20.

In Florida, you can also vote by mail. The deadline to request that a vote-by-mail ballot be mailed is no later than 5 p.m. on Aug. 13. It must be returned and received by the Supervisor of Elections no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day. 

The send deadline is July 9 for absentee ballots for stateside and overseas uniformed service members and overseas civilian voters.

The send deadline for absentee domestic voters is July 14-21.  

What's my polling place?

What do I bring to my polling place?

A valid photo ID that includes a signature is necessary to cast your vote on Election Day. 

This includes:

  • Florida driver’s license
  • Florida identification card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
  • United States passport
  • Debit or credit card
  • Military identification
  • Student identification
  • Retirement center identification
  • Neighborhood association identification
  • Public assistance identification
  • Veteran health identification card issued by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs
  • License to carry a concealed weapon or firearm issued pursuant to s. 790.06
  • Employee identification card issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of the Federal Government, the state, a county, or a municipality.

If your photo ID doesn't have a signature, you'll be asked to show another ID that does. If you don't bring proper identification, you can still cast a provisional ballot. 

Who and what is on the ballot?

Follow the links below to see what's on the ballot in your county. Follow the instructions on your local elections website to see what the ballot will look like.

To get more information on the primary election, visit the Florida Division of Elections site. There, you can register, research nominees and make informed decisions on voting day. 

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