Voter’s Guide: Key Dates, How to Vote and What You Need to Know Ahead of the Florida Election

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It has been said that every election is the most important of a generation — until the next election. This year, however, may come closer to that old proverb than previous years.

The threats to American democracy that were so clearly illustrated on January 6, 2021 in the nation’s capital are testimony to this.

In Florida, races for gubernatorial, senator and congressional seats will be decided this year. And a slew of local races for the state Senate, House of Representatives, county commissions, and school boards are also vying for your attention.

Here is a list of some of the things you need to know:

Key dates

  • Deadlines to register: July 25 (primary election), October 11 (general election)
  • Deadlines to request an absentee ballot: August 23 (primary election) and October 29 (general election)
  • Florida primary election: August 23
  • General Election: November 8

How to register

You can register to vote online here.

To be able to vote, you must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States of America;
  • Be a legal resident of Florida;
  • Be a legal resident of the county in which you seek to register;
  • Be at least 16 years old to pre-register or at least 18 years old to register and vote;
  • Not be a person who has been declared mentally incapable of voting in Florida or any other state without having the right to vote restored; and,
  • Not be a person convicted of a crime without having your right to vote restored.

You will also need:

  • Your Florida driver’s license (Florida driver’s license) or Florida ID card (Florida ID card) issued by the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles
  • The date your Florida driver’s license or Florida ID card was issued;
  • The last four digits of your social security number.

The deadline to register for an upcoming election is 29 days before that election.

Vote by mail

Voters can obtain an absentee ballot from their county election supervisor offices. The deadlines for obtaining a ballot are August 13 (for the primary election) and October 29 (for the general election).

Click on your county for information on requesting a mail-in ballot:

Early voting

Voters will have an eight-day window in which they can vote at their local polling places before the primary and general elections:

  • Primary election: August 13-20
  • General election: Oct. 29-Nov. 5

Each county election supervisor may offer multiple early voting days from one or more of the following days:

  • Primary election: August 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 21
  • General election: November 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 6

Check with your county Elections Office Supervisor for available dates.

Voting places

You can find your constituency within your county by selecting your county below:

Tampa Bay Area Elections

Two congressional districts in the region are expected to be hotly contested.

Eight people have qualified for a newly redesigned congressional district that includes western St. Petersburg and southern Pinellas County. On the Republican side are Anna Paulina Luna, Amanda Makki, Kevin Hayslett and Christine Quinn, who ran against Tampa Democrat Kathy Castor two years ago. The winner of the August primary will face Eric Lynn, the only Democrat to qualify. State Representative Ben Diamond and Michele Rayner dropped out after being removed from the district.

Castor’s headquarters now includes downtown St. Petersburg. The Democrat faces a primary challenge from Christopher Bradley, with the winner facing Republican James Judge in November.

Incumbent Republican Scott Franklin is leaving Congressional District 15, which includes North Hillsborough, South Pasco and Northeast Polk Counties. Democrat Alan Cohn is running again and will face three other Democrats. Several Republican heavyweights are in the running, including State Senator Kelli Stargel, State Representative Jackie Toledo and former Secretary of State Laurel Lee.

Click here for a list of candidates vying for seats in the United States House, State House, and State Senate.

  • Click on here for locals Pinellas County races
  • Click on here for locals Hillsborough County races
  • Click on here for locals Pasco County races
  • Click on here for locals Sarasota County races
  • Click on here for locals manatee county races
  • Click on here for locals Hernando County races
  • Click on here for locals citrus county races
  • Click on here for locals Polk County races

Statewide races

Governor:
The big statewide election this year will pit Republicans against Governor Ron DeSantis against the winner of the Democratic primary, which includes a congressman and former governor. charlie christ and Commissioner of Agriculture Nicole “Nikki” Friedthe only Democrat currently in office statewide.

US Senate:
Republican Senator Marco Rubio of South Florida is seeking to retain its seat for another six years. His main opponent is a Democrat Val Demingsa former Orlando police chief.

Attorney General:
Tampa Republican Ashley Moody seeks re-election to the highest legal office in the state. She will face the winner of the Democratic primary: Aramis Ayala from Orlando; Jim Lewis from Fort Lauderdale or Daniel Uhlfelder from Santa Rosa beach.

Financial director:
Incumbent Republican Jimmy Patronis of Panama City seeks re-election against Democrats Adam Hatterley from Tampa.

Commissioner for Agriculture:
The winner of that crowded field will replace incumbent Democrat Nikki Fried, who is running in the gubernatorial primary.

The main candidates are the Republicans wilton simpson of Pasco County – the current President of the State Senate – and James Shaw from Vero beach.

Democrats running in the primary include Naomi Esther Blémur from North Miami; JR Gaillot of Gainesville; and Ryan Moraux from Clermont.

You can find a complete list of candidates here.

Amendments

There are three constitutional amendments on the statewide ballot this year:

Abolition of the Constitution Review Commission
This would abolish the Constitution Review Commission, which meets every 20 years and is scheduled to meet next in 2037, to submit proposals for amendments or revisions to the state constitution.

Limitation of the assessment of real estate used for residential purposes
This would prohibit the consideration of any alterations or improvements made to a property used for residential purposes to improve the property’s resistance to flood damage when determining the rateable value of that property for ad valorem taxation purposes. .

Additional Homestead Property Tax Exemption for Essential Utility Labor Specified
This amendment would provide an additional homestead tax exemption for non-school levies of up to $50,000 of the taxable value of homesteads held by teachers, law enforcement officers, correctional officers , firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, child protective service professionals, active duty members of the United States Armed Forces, and members of the Florida National Guard.

Referendums

School funding is a big issue for this primary election, including votes to raise property taxes to help fund public schools in Hillsborough and Pasco County.

And in November, Polk County voters will be asked to relaunch a program that would use a property tax hike to help protect environmentally sensitive land:

Hillsborough County

School tax referendum
The Hillsborough County School Board wishes to levy an additional ad valorem operational mileage tax of 1 mil per year (one dollar of tax for every $1,000 of assessment) from July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2027, to help recruit and retain highly qualified teachers and staff; develop art, music and physical education; and expand workforce development, sharing funds with charter schools.

Pasco County

School tax referendum
The Pasco County District School Board would levy an additional ad valorem operational mileage not exceeding one mill beginning July 1, 2023 and ending no later than June 30, 2027, for essential operating expenses to maintain competitive wages with the market, attract and retain high quality teachers, bus drivers and other non-administrative school support staff.

Polk County

Environmental Land Referendum
The group “Polk Forever” wants to resurrect a property tax that was in place from 1994 to 2015. It would levy a tax of 20 cents per $1,000 on taxable property for 20 years. It is estimated that this would cost the average Polk owner $30 per year.

Polk’s Environmental Lands Program has been able to fund the protection of more than 26,000 acres throughout Polk County since voters approved the original tax referendum in 1994.

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