The deadline for registering to vote in the Presidential Primary Election is February 16, but the race is already heating up. Many would rather wait and see who the final candidates are before making a decision, but those who want a say in the final choice need to act now!
Florida is a closed primary state, which means you must be a registered member of a party to vote in the primary. Independents are not allowed to vote in either party primary unless there’s no opposition from outside the party. Since there are currently twenty candidates to choose from between just the Republican and Democratic parties, anyone who’s not registered to vote in the primaries is giving up his or her right to choose. “I had no idea I couldn’t vote in the primaries if I was an independent,” said Mark Quick, a student at Seminole.
If you want to choose one of the twenty candidates currently running, you just need to register in that party before the registration deadline. For the general election in November, a party change can be made at any time, so you can easily change back to Independent from a Democrat or Republican.
St. Petersburg College makes registering and changing parties even easier by partnering with TurboVote, an online, nonpartisan, nonprofit reminder system for voters – https://spcollege.turbovote.org/register. “Elections are annoying,” said Chester Dunbar, SPC student. “But with TurboVote, registering is easy.”
TurboVote can also send you email election reminders and identify your polling place. Thanks to their partnership with SPC, you can also sign up for absentee ballots and vote by mail. Any voter can request a mail-in (or absentee) ballot, for any reason in Florida, and every state allows commuters, college students, and others with valid reasons to vote absentee.
The Sandbox will be bringing you a breakdown of all the candidates and where they stand on issues important to students by the end of October. Students polled across Seminole campus agreed that politics weren’t their thing, but issues mattered. “If you don’t vote, you don’t get a choice,” concluded Quick.
Originally published on Sept 23, 2015.