ORLANDO, Fla. – As if 2020 hasn’t been busy enough, presidential election season is officially upon us and there are a few important things voters should know before filling out their ballots.
On Nov. 3, America will either re-elect President Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s nominee, to spend another term in the White House, or choose to give Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden, or one of the other many candidates in the running, a chance to lead the country for the next four years.
Citizens who are eligible to vote will also be casting ballots in other important federal, state and local races and a number of amendments in Florida.
Let’s tackle the first part of that sentence -- the “citizens who are eligible” part. First things first, if you’d like to vote in any election, you must register to do so. Click here to check your voter registration status.
The deadline to register to vote in the November election is Oct. 5. If you miss it and have to sit this one out, you can still make sure your voter registration information is up to date to ensure you can participate in the next election.
[MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Make sure you know these important dates ahead of the general election]
If you’re registered and ready to vote in the general election, the next step is getting familiar with the races and amendments you can expect to see on your ballot. Of course, those will vary based on where you live, along with where you cast your ballot 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 has already provided one ahead of the election, you’ll be able to access it below. As far as when you can vote, Florida law requires that early voting be held for at least for eight days. The mandatory early voting period for the general election begins Oct. 24 and runs through Oct. 31. If your county’s supervisor of elections offers additional early voting days, you’ll be able to find those dates below, as well as details on polling place locations and vote-by-mail information.
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.
While every elected position and amendment is important, there are some ballot items voters are keeping a closer eye on than others this year. The following races and amendments are considered key ballot items for Central Floridian voters:
- Amendment 2: $15 Minimum Wage -- Raises minimum wage to $10.00 per hour effective September 30, 2021. Each September 30 thereafter, minimum wage shall increase by $1.00 per hour until the minimum wage reaches $15.00 per hour on September 30, 2026. From that point forward, future minimum wage increases shall revert to being adjusted annually for inflation starting September 30, 2027. | Click here for a full breakdown of Amendment 2.
- Amendment 3: Top-Two Open Primaries for State Offices -- Allows all registered voters to vote in primaries for state legislature, governor, and cabinet regardless of political party affiliation. All candidates for an office, including party nominated candidates, appear on the same primary ballot. Two highest vote getters advance to general election. If only two candidates qualify, no primary is held and winner is determined in general election. Candidate’s party affiliation may appear on ballot as provided by law. Effective January 1, 2024. | Click here for a full breakdown of Amendment 3.
- Amendment 4: Require Constitutional Amendments to be Passed Twice -- Requires all proposed amendments or revisions to the state constitution to be approved by the voters in two elections, instead of one, in order to take effect. The proposal applies the current thresholds for passage to each of the two elections. | Click here for a full breakdown of Amendment 4.
- Amendment 5: Extend “Save Our Homes” Portability Period -- Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution, effective date January 1, 2021, to increase, from 2 years to 3 years, the period of time during which accrued Save-Our-Homes benefits may be transferred from a prior homestead to a new homestead. | Click here for a full breakdown of Amendment 5.
- Amendment 6: Homestead Property Tax Discount for Spouses of Deceased Veterans -- Provides that the homestead property tax discount for certain veterans with permanent combat-related disabilities carries over to such veteran’s surviving spouse who holds legal or beneficial title to, and who permanently resides on, the homestead property, until he or she remarries or sells or otherwise disposes of the property. The discount may be transferred to a new homestead property of the surviving spouse under certain conditions. The amendment takes effect January 1, 2021. | Click here for a full breakdown of Amendment 6.
- State Senate District 5 -- Marion
- State Senate District 7 -- Flagler
- State Senate District 9 -- Seminole, Volusia
- State Senate District 11 -- Orange
- State Senate District 13 -- Orange
- State Senate District 15 -- Orange, Osceola
- State Senate District 17 -- Brevard, Indian River
- State Senate District 20 -- Polk
Florida House of Representatives
- State House District 22 -- Marion
- State House District 23 -- Marion
- State House District 24 -- Flagler
- State House District 25 -- Volusia
- State House District 26 -- Volusia
- State House District 27 -- Volusia
- State House District 28 -- Seminole
- State House District 29 -- Seminole
- State House District 30 -- Seminole
- State House District 31 -- Lake, Orange
- State House District 32 -- Lake
- State House District 33 -- Lake, Sumter
- State House District 39 -- Osceola, Polk
- State House District 40 -- Polk
- State House District 41 -- Polk
- State House District 42 -- Osceola, Polk
- State House District 44 -- Orange
- State House District 47 -- Orange
- State House District 48 -- Orange
- State House District 49 -- Orange
- State House District 50 -- Brevard, Orange
- State House District 51 -- Brevard
- State House District 52 -- Brevard
- State House District 53 -- Brevard
- State House District 56 -- Polk
- School Board Referendum -- Half-cent sales surtax extension for critical school facility, security and technology upgrades
- One Percent Sales Tax Referendum -- Four-year extension of the 1% Public Safety and Transportation Infrastructure Sales Tax Referendum
- Orange County Proposed Charter Amendment Question 2 -- Protecting Split Oak Forest by Restricting Board of County commissioners' Amendment of Restrictions and Covenants
Central Florida school board races
- A number of Central Florida counties have school board seats up for grabs this November. Click here to see who’s running in your district.
A full list of offices up for election in 2020 can be found here.
Voting during the COVID-19 pandemic
As Florida continues to report 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 in the general election.
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.