It’s a presidential election year, which means next week Florida voters will cast their ballots in a presidential preference primary election to determine what Democratic and Republican nominees will be on the ballot for the General Election.
Only voters registered with Florida’s two major political parties can vote in the presidential preference primary. The deadline to register for the presidential primary was Feb. 18. Voters still have until July 20 to register for the regular primary and October 5 to register for the general election.
A recent study done by from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that Americans have mixed feelings about the way votes are counted. According to the poll, one third of U.S. voters said they have little confidence in the accuracy of the way votes are counted.
Thursday, many voters said their biggest concern is making sure their vote is secure, especially with 2020 being a presidential election year.
“I want to make sure my voice counts, especially who I pick, you know?” said voter Brian Puzeo.
Joelene Lowe agreed,
“I hope that everything is secure and keeps us on the right page,” Lowe said.
Orange County Supervisor of Election Bill Cowles stresses the importance of Florida, unlike some states, being a paper ballot states. He said if necessary, they can verify all of the results by counting the paper ballots.
“When you make your mark on a piece of paper, that mark cannot change,” Cowles said.
This comes after officials say Russian hackers accessed voter databases in two Florida counties in 2016, but not here in Central Florida. Election results were not compromised.
Orange County election leaders said unofficial results are transmitted over the internet only for a short period of time to count them.
“It’s set up to go to a secure site and the precautions are in place to make sure that hopefully nothing happens,” Cowles said.
Either way, many voters are stressing the importance of voting.
“I think it’s really important for people to get out there and vote,” Brian Puezo said.
Click here to learn how the primary election is changing in Florida in 2020.
Early voting is available ahead of the state-wide March 17 presidential preference primary election but some counties start sooner than others.
Here’s when early voting begins in all nine Central Florida counties:
- Orange County: March 2- March 15, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
- Seminole County: March 7- March 14, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
- Volusia County: March 7- March 14, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
- Marion County: March 7- March 14, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
- Lake County: March 5 - March 14, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
- Flagler County: March 7 - March 14, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
- Sumter County: March 7 - March 14, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
- Brevard County: March 2 - March 14, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. (Weekdays) 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Weekends)
- Osceola County: March 2 - March 15, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.