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Florida Primary 2020: Everything you need to know to make your voice heard

Posted: 5:42 PM, Feb 11, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-12 14:16:36-05
Election Day 2018! Here's your voting day guide

2020 is a big election year, and although the general election isn't until November, the presidential preference primary is rapidly approaching.

You may think you have plenty of time to think about voting for your candidate, but to cast a ballot in the Florida primary on March 17, you need to be registered to vote by February 18 at the latest.

WHAT IS THE PRIMARY ELECTION?

The Primary Election is held 11 weeks before the General Election for purposes of nominating party nominees to be voted for in the General Election to fill a national, state, county, or district office. A General Election is held in November of every even-numbered year. The election dates for 2020 are:

  • Presidential Preference Primary Election: March 17
  • Primary Election: August 18
  • General Election: November 3

HOW FLORIDA'S PRIMARY WORKS

The state of Florida has a closed primary system. This means in order to vote in the primary, you must already be a registered party member. So you have to be registered with the Democratic Party to vote in the Democratic Primary or registered with the Republican Party to vote in the Republican Primary.

Independents and unaffiliated voters by definition are excluded from participating in the party nomination contests and can't vote until the general election.

HOW TO REGISTER/CHANGE PARTY AFFILIATION IN FLORIDA

If you're not sure if you are registered to vote in the state of Florida, or which party you are registered with, you can find that information on the Florida Division of Elections website.

Even if you are registered with one political party, you can switch on the Florida elections website as long as you do it before the February 18 deadline. You can register to vote here.

WHAT IF I'M VOTING BY MAIL?

For vote-by-mail ballot requests on record, state law requires that the ballots be sent during specified timeframes.

For absent stateside and overseas uniformed service member and overseas civilian voters (also known as UOCAVA voters), Supervisors of Elections send the ballots no later than 45 days before an election. The send periods for 2020 are:

  • Presidential Preference Primary Election: February 1
  • Primary Election: July 4
  • General Election: September 19

For domestic voters, Supervisors of Elections send the ballots during a 7-day window between 40 and 33 days before an election. The send periods for 2020 are:

  • Presidential Preference Primary Election: February 6 – 13
  • Primary Election: July 9 - July 16
  • General Election: September 24 – October 1

For more information on the Florida primary,click here.