This summer, there will be important elections held in Hillsborough County. If you want to exercise your right to vote in the primary election, which is set for Tuesday, August 23 (early voting will be held Monday, August 8 through Sunday, August 21), you must be registered to vote by Monday, July 25. This is also the deadline to change your address or change your party affiliation.
Florida is a closed primary state, which means that you must be registered with a political party to vote in that party’s primary races. However, everyone can vote in this election, regardless of their affiliation, because there will be nonpartisan races for school board and judges and nonpartisan issues on the primary ballot.
A primary election is used to nominate a candidate to move on to the general election. The primary also narrows down the number of candidates in nonpartisan races and may include amendments or referenda.
There has been a lot of reporting about election law changes made. Readers should know that the rules around registering to vote have not changed. Voters can visit votehillsborough.gov or registertovoteflorida.gov to register online, or they can visit any supervisor of election office to fill out an application. Voter registration applications can also be found at public libraries. The voter registration application is also used by registered voters who need to update their name, address or signature.
One change that is applicable relates to requesting a Vote By Mail ballot. Voters now need to provide their driver license number or the last four digits of their social security number, whichever can be verified in their voter record. The easiest way to make the request is online at votehillsborough.gov/votebymail or by calling 612-4180. All Vote By Mail requests will expire after the 2022 general election and need to be resubmitted after each general election.
In 2020, a U.S. census was conducted (one is conducted every 10 years). The Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners, the Hillsborough County School Board and the Florida Legislature redraw district boundaries to reflect changes in population. After maps are approved, precinct boundaries are adjusted. The voter registration database is updated as well. Even though only some voters will have a change in their districts or precinct, every voter will receive a new voter information card.
Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer said, “If you are not registered to vote, do not put that off. Get registered today so that you are ready. To make sure your voter information is current, look it up at votehillsborough.gov/voterlookup.”
Latimer added, “Unfortunately, we are seeing a lot of misinformation about elections. If you have questions, get your information from a trusted source — your elections office.”