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Presidential preference? Florida’s turn approaching

By Staff | Feb 10, 2016

Florida is not among the dozen-plus states that caucus.

Thank goodness.

Instead, like the vast majority of states, Florida uses a preference primary election to allow registered voters to select their candidate of choice for the party’s presidential nomination.

Florida is a closed primary state, meaning only voters who are registered with designated party affiliation can vote for candidate nominees in the March 15 Florida Presidential Preference Primary.

Simply put, registered Democrats can vote only for the candidates seeking the Democratic nomination. Registered Republicans can vote only for candidates seeking the Republican nomination.

“Since Florida is a closed primary state, only voters who are registered members of the respective political party’s candidates can vote for those candidate nominees in a primary election,” a release issued by the Lee County Supervisor of Elections Office issued this week states. “That means, you have to be registered as a Republican to receive a Republican ballot and you have to be registered a Democrat to receive a Democratic ballot. You may not vote for a candidate in another party affiliation other than your own in a primary election. You have to choose to register as a Republican or as a Democrat to vote for the candidate of your choice.”

If you have not registered to vote here in Lee County, or if you have registered but did not declare party affiliation, or if you want to change your party designation, the deadline to register to vote in the preference primary is Tuesday, Feb. 16, when the “books close.”

Party-affiliated voters who plan on casting their ballot by mail should be aware of an approaching deadline as well.

The last day to request a mail ballot is Wednesday, March 9, with the first batch, or “drop” of approximately 93,000 here in Lee County, hitting the mail Tuesday.

Voters who want to obtain voter registration forms, find a voter registration site, check their voter status, check or change their party affiliation or request a mail ballot, can do so online at www.leeelections.com/wp/voters/ .

The Voter tab offers a number of other options as well and includes a calendar of important dates, including the dates and times for Early Voting to be held Saturday, March 5, through Saturday, March 12.

For more information, voters or would-be voters can also call (239) LEE-VOTE – 239-533-8683 – for more information.

At last count, there were 456,245 registered voters in Lee County. Republicans accounted for 187,028 of them, Democrats, 127,576.

For those who want to support a preferred presidential candidate, Florida’s turn is approaching fast. It’s time to have your voter’s registration, complete with party affiliation, ready to go.

– Citizen editorial