ORLANDO, Fla. – The presidential race is heating up across the country and candidates are hitting the campaign trail for a final push before primary elections.
Florida’s primary is March 17 but the deadline to register or change party affiliations is Feb. 18.
Florida has a closed primary, which means voters can only nominate representatives who are affiliated with their party. That means registered Democrats can nominate who should represent the party, and with a crowded field, every vote counts. As for Republicans, casting a vote is showing support for their nominee.
If voters opt to not join a party or register as independent, they will not be able to vote for candidates who identify with a political party. Those voters will have to wait until the selections have been narrowed down for them and cast their ballots Nov. 3.
If you’re looking to get more civically engaged and participate in the primaries, here’s how you can register to vote or change your party affiliation.
To register, citizens must be a Florida resident and at least 18 years old.
For those with felony convictions, the Voting Restoration Amendment restores one’s voting rights. To qualify, they must have served all terms of their sentence, including parole and probation. Amendment 4 does not apply to felons who have been convicted of murder or sexual offenses.
Florida law allows people to register to vote or update one’s registration at any elections office, some public libraries, driver’s license offices, or at a community voter registration event.
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Those looking to register or change their party affiliation will need a state driver’s license or identification card issued by the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles, according to the Florida Department of State.
Floridians also have the option to fill out a voter registration application online and deliver a signed copy to their corresponding county’s Supervisor of Elections Office.
To register online in English or Spanish, click here.