ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida’s primary is just around the corner and there are a few things you should know before heading to the polls this year.
With the whirlwind the year 2020 has been and the coronavirus pandemic consuming most of our thoughts these days, it may be hard to believe that the elections are upon us, but there are some very important seats up for reelection.
Primary election day is Aug. 18 but thanks to early voting, many of you will be able to cast your ballots even sooner. That is, of course, if you met your voter registration deadline to participate in the primaries. Here’s how to find out if you’re registered to vote this time around. If you’re not, you can update your voter information ahead of the General Election, which is set for Nov. 3, using that same link.
Do keep in mind that Florida is a closed primary state, which means only voters who are registered members of political parties can vote for respective party candidates or nominees during a primary election. There are, however, a number of nonpartisan races independent voters can take part in, depending on where they live. Again, if you have to sit this one out, you should still make sure your voter registration information is up to date to ensure you can participate in the November election.
If you are able to vote in the primary election, you should get familiar with the races you can expect to see on your ballot. Of course, those will vary based on where you live, as will where and how soon you can vote.
The best way to get familiar with what you’ll likely see on your ballot is to study a sample version. If your county provides one ahead of the election, you’ll be able to access it below. If early voting is available in your county, you’ll also be able to find when and where to cast your ballot.
Below is a county-by-county breakdown of information Central Florida voters need to know, specific to where they live.
*NOTE: Early voters may vote at any early voting location, while those who wait until Election Day must vote at their assigned polling place, according to Orange County elections officials.
Get more information about voting in Orange County here.
Get more information about voting in Seminole County here.
Get more information about voting in Osceola County here.
Get more information about voting in Volusia County here.
Get more information about voting in Brevard County here.
Get more information about voting in Marion County here.
Get more information about voting in Flagler County here.
*NOTE: Early voting locations differ from assigned Election Day polling places. Click here to find out where you can cast your ballot early in Lake County.
Get more information about voting in Lake County here.
Get more information about voting in Sumter County here.
Get more information about voting in Polk County here.
Key races in Central Florida
While every elected position is important, there are some races Central Florida voters are keeping a closer eye on than others this year, including the following:
Orange County Sheriff: Sheriff John Mina, the Democratic incumbent who was elected to his current role as Orange County sheriff in November 2018, is running for reelection. Five Democrats are running for Orange County sheriff, so only registered Democrats can vote in that primary race. The winner will move to November.
Orange-Osceola State Attorney: Aramis Ayala is not seeking re-election, so four Democratic candidates are vying to move onto November and secure her spot. This is another race where only registered Democrats will vote.
Osceola County Sheriff: Democratic incumbent Russ Gibson is seeking reelection but two candidates are trying to beat him and move on to November. This is another registered Democrats only race.
Seminole County Tax Collector: Given everything that has happened recently, a lot of Seminole County residents will be watching this race closely. Incumbent Joel Greenberg has resigned from his position after being arrested on federal charges earlier this year, however, voters will still see his name on the ballot due to the fact that he resigned after ballots were finalized. Therefore, according to the Seminole County Supervisor of Elections, a vote for Greenberg will not count. Two other candidates are vying for his role. The winner will move onto the November ballot.
Something else that’s important to watch, especially in light of recent changes in education due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic: Every Central Florida county but Sumter has school board races this year. School board races are nonpartisan races so all registered voters can participate.
More important races
U.S House District 3 Marion
- Kat Cammack (R)
- Ryan D. Chamberlin (R)
- Todd Chase (R)
- Bill Engelbrecht (R)
- Joe Dallas Millado (R)
- Gavin Rollins (R)
- Judson Sapp (R)
- James St. George (R)
- David Theus (R)
- Amy Pope Wells (R)
U.S House District 3 Marion
- Adam Christensen (D)
- Phillip Dodds (D)
- Tom Wells (D)
U.S. House District 6 Flagler, Volusia, Lake
- Clint Curtis (D)
- Richard Thripp (D)
U.S. House District 7 Orange, Seminole
- Richard Goble (R)
- Leo Valentín (R)
- Yukong Zhao (R)
U.S. House District 8 Brevard, Orange
- Scott Caine (R)
- Bill Posey (R) Incumbent
U.S. House District 9 Orange, Polk
- Jose Castillo (R)
- William P. “Bill” Olson (R)
- Sergio E. Ortiz (R)
- Christopher Wright (R)
U.S. House District 10 Orange
- Vennia Francois (R)
- Willie J. Montague (R)
U.S. House District 15 Lake, Polk
- Scott Franklin (R)
- Ross Spano (R) Incumbent
U.S. House District 15 Lake, Polk
- Alan Cohn (D)
- Adam Hattersley (D)
- Jesse Philippe (D)
9th Judicial Circuit Orange, Osceola
- Deborah Lynne Barra (D)
- Belvin Perry Jr (D)
- Ryan Williams (D)
- Monique Worrell (D)
Orange County Sheriff
- Andrew Darling (D)
- Jose “Joe” Lopez (D)
- Eric L. Mclntyre (D)
- John Mina (D)
- Darryl B. Sheppard (D)
Orange County Property Appraiser
- Amy Mercado (D)
- Khalid Muneer (D)
- Rick Singh (D)
Osceola County Sheriff
- Mike Fisher (D)
- Russ Gibson (D)
- Marco Lopez (D)
Seminole County Tax Collector
- Brian A. Beute (R)
- Joel M. Greenberg (R, a vote for Greenberg will not count, according to elections officials)
- Jeff “J.R.” Kroll (R)
Sumter County Sheriff
- Eric Ryan Anderson (R)
- William O. “Bill” Farmer Jr (R)
Voting during a pandemic
As Florida continues to report thousands of new coronavirus infections daily, Supervisor of Elections Offices in Central Florida are stepping up safety and sanitization protocols to protect voters when they cast their ballots for the state’s primary elections.
Click here to see some of the coronavirus-related precautions Central Florida counties are implementing at the polls.
For more information on Central Florida elections, head to Clickorlando.com/results2020.