16 Reasons The Florida Primary Election Matters
The 2022 primary election is just around the corner. While the primary election day is August 23, early voting begins on August 13 in some Florida counties and even earlier in others.
You may be wondering why it is important to vote in this election.
As a 21 year old senior in college, I urge you to make your voice heard by voting. This is a way to have a direct impact on our federal, state and local government and the policies they enact into laws that will affect your day to day life.
What is a Primary Election?
The primary election occurs to narrow down the candidates in non-partisan races and to select the candidates representing each party in partisan races that will appear on the ballot in the general election. Florida has a closed primary which means a voter may only vote for a candidate in their registered party in partisan races. This election allows you, as the voter, to determine which candidate from your party will run in the general election. If you do not select a party in your voter registration, you will automatically be registered as “no party affiliation” (sometimes referred to as “independent”). You cannot vote for party candidates in a closed primary election if you are registered as “no party affiliation.” Keep in mind that in the general election, anyone can vote for any candidate, no matter the party affiliation. If you would like to change your party affiliation before the primary election, go to www.registertovoteflorida.gov, click on “Register or Update” and enter all of the required information and be sure to select a party.
To vote in the August 23rd primary election, voters must be registered by July 25th. The same deadline applies to select a party if you wish to vote for candidates in partisan races. For the positions that are nonpartisan, if there is no runoff, the winner is final and the race will not appear on the ballot for the general election.
What's on the Ballot: 16 Reasons The Florida Primary Matters
Each ballot looks different depending on where you live. To view your own sample ballot with the exact positions that will appear on your real one, go to the website for your county’s supervisor of elections.
1. U.S. Senator
2. U.S. House Representative
Each State has a certain number of House Representatives based on population. Florida will have 28 U.S. Representatives on the ballot this year, an increase due to population growth. The House of Representatives introduces bills, resolutions, and amendments and initiates impeachment proceedings.
3. Governor and Lieutenant Governor
The Florida Governor controls the day-to-day government business. The governor enforces laws, proposes and passes new legislation and creates executive orders. The governor also has command over the national guard and manages agencies like the Department of Health.
4. Attorney General
The Florida Attorney General interprets and applies the state laws and represents the state in criminal law cases.
5. Commissioner of Agriculture & Consumer Services
The Commissioner of Agriculture & Consumer Services is a cabinet level position that is in charge of the state agency Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. This agency regulates the Florida agriculture industry.
6. Chief Financial Officer
The Chief Financial Officer is a cabinet level position in charge of the Department of Financial Services, which is merged from the Department of Insurance, Treasury, State Fire Marshal and the Department of Banking and Finance.
7. State Senator
The Florida State Senators work with the Florida House of Representatives and the governor to create laws and a state budget. They have the power to raise and lower taxes, and vote to either uphold or override the governor’s vetoes.
8. State House Representative
The Florida House Representatives work with the Florida State Senate and the governor to create laws and a state budget. They have the power to raise and lower taxes, and vote to either uphold or override the governor’s vetoes.
9. Circuit Judge
Florida circuit judges listen to cases including: family law, juvenile delinquency and dependency, mental health, probate, guardianship and civil matters over $15,000.
10. County Judge
Florida county judges listen to cases including: traffic offenses, landlord-tenant disputes, misdemeanor crimes, and monetary disputes up to $15,000.
11. County Mayor
The duties of the county mayor include: emergency management, airport and seaport operations, public housing, health care services, transportation, and environmental services.
12. County Commissioner
County Commissioner duties include: enacting legislation, creating departments, and regulating the operations of businesses.
13. School Board Member
The duties of school board members include: setting school district policy and appointing a superintendent who selects administrators.
14. Municipal Mayor
Some locations may have municipal elections for mayor as well.
15. Municipal Councilmembers or Commissioners
Some locations may have municipal elections for city commission or council as well.
16. Ballot Questions
Some locations may have ballot questions that ask voters to approve local issues. Sometimes these are zoning questions, or environmental ordinances, or even changes to local city or county charters.
Why the Primary Election Matters
While the presidential election is extremely important, it’s also important to remember state and local positions impact your day to day life. These are the people who make decisions that impact you on local levels. Primary elections typically have a low voter turnout rate, with only 28% for the 2020 primary election. I’m voting because I want to help my neighbors, my family, my community, and my state thrive by electing officials who have our best interest at heart.