Election time has arrived again – and with it, time to get registered to vote. On Aug. 14, the Florida primary election will take place, with many local elections on the ballot. The general election as well as the presidential election will occur on Nov. 6.
If you aren’t registered to vote yet, you only have a couple of weeks to do so before the primary. The registration deadline falls 29 days before the election: July 16 for the August primary, and Oct. 9 for the November election.
There are only four conditions to meet in order to be eligible to register to vote: being (1) a U.S. citizen, (2) a legal Florida resident, (3) over 18 years of age, and (4) in full restoration of civil rights in the cases of felons.
It is very easy to register to vote. Printable applications are available online (link below) and have to be mailed in; applications are also available at many locations, including, for instance, Pensacola State College or public libraries. It is also possible to register in person at the Supervisor of Elections office or at any Florida Driver License Office. The only documents required are a Florida Driver’s License, Florida I.D., or the last four digits of a social security number. Fortunately, for people who have just moved to Florida, there is no minimum residency requirement.
Once registered and before voting, it is important to get informed. This importance is emphasized by Janet DeLorge, member of the League of Women Voters Pensacola Bay Area: “The League is interested in registering all eligible citizens, but most of all it is very interested in getting people to vote intelligently.” It is worth the extra time to get information about the candidates and/or the issues being voted upon.
There are three ways to vote. The first is by absentee ballot; this means that voters who sign up to vote in this way receive the ballot at home. They select the candidate of their choice and then they send the ballot back to the Supervisor of Elections Office. The second way is early voting: going in person to the Elections office before the actual election and casting the vote there. The third way is the most known way: voting on election day at the assigned local precinct.
Voting is a right and a privilege that not everybody in the world enjoys – as active citizens of this democracy, it is thus important to register, make an informed decision, and then go vote!
League of Women Voters
The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization. Its main goal is to register people to vote, and then to get those registered voters to be informed before actually casting their ballot.
“We present the information, the pros and the cons of constitutional amendments or local issues that the League has studied,” Janet DeLorge said.
The League is very active in the community. For instance, on June 28, the League was invited to set a table at a diversity event for people in the military at the Naval Air Station.
“(The League) spent the day registering military people and providing information for people in other States,” she said.
Sometimes, grocery stores ask the League to set up a table at the entry of the store; other times, the League holds tables at libraries. This grassroots organization is making a difference on a local and national scale.