It is officially the 2020 election year with three elections for voters to exercise their right to vote. This year marks the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, now more women vote than men.
The first election of 2020 is the Presidential Preference Primary (PPP), which will be Tuesday, March 17. Interest is high and we are expecting a record turnout in the election, which will have both a Republican and Democratic ballot. There are 16 candidates on the Democratic ballot and four candidates on the Republican ballot. If you would like to view the sample ballots for the PPP, visit www.votecitrus.com.
Florida’s Closed Primary system presents problems for some voters. The closed primary means that only registered Republicans and Democrats are allowed to vote in their respective parties in the PPP. There are more than 27,000 voters in Citrus County who are registered as either “No Party Affiliation” or registered in a minor party, who will be unable to cast a vote in the March PPP Election if they do not change their party affiliation prior by Tuesday, Feb. 18.
“We would like to help voters avoid some of the problems we see during the primary elections,” said Susan Gill, Citrus County Supervisor of Elections. “The first issue is voters thinking they are registered in one party when in fact they are registered in another.
“But, they say, ‘I have always voted (Democrat or Republican).’ In researching their record, we discover that they have only voted in general elections in the past. In a general election, all voters get the same ballot; therefore, the voter could have been voting in the opposite party of their registration thinking they were actually registered in that party.”
Gill and her office encourage voters to check their registration and party status now to be sure they are not disappointed on Election Day. Checking your party status is easy, Gill explained. New voter information cards were mailed to all registered voters last October. Your political party is shown on the card either as an REP for Republican or DEM for Democrat. All other party designations (NPA, REF, INT e.g.) will not be eligible to vote in the March 17 PPP election.
Another way to check your voter status is to visit www.votecitrus.com. Across the top of the page is “MY REGISTRATION STATUS.” Clicking on this and filling out the required fields on the following page will allow you to check your registration status, Gill said. Voters can also call the office at 352-564-7120 to have staff assist you.
Voters may change their party affiliation anytime up to 29 days before an election. For the March 17 election, Tuesday, Feb. 18, is the last day to either register to vote or change your party affiliation. Party changes must be done on a voter registration application form. The website www.votecitrus.com will allow you to register for the first time if you have a valid Florida Driver’s License or Identification Card or change your party affiliation using online voter registration (OVR) or change your party affiliation using online voter registration (OVR).
A voter registration paper application can be printed, completed and mailed to the Supervisor of Elections at PO Box 1870 Lecanto, FL 34460.
Voter Registration Forms are available at the Supervisor of Elections office at 1500 N. Meadowcrest Blvd., Crystal River, at the Inverness Supervisor of Elections Office with the Tax Collector’s office, at government offices and at all Citrus County public libraries.