Florida voter guide: What you need to know for 2022 elections | WUSF Public Media – WUSF News

It has been said that every election is the most important one in a generation — until the next election comes around. This year, however, may come closer to that old proverb than in previous years.

The threats to American democracy that were so vividly illustrated on Jan. 6, 2021, in the nation’s capitol attest to that.

In Florida, races for governor, senator and congressional seats will be decided this year. And a host of local races for state Senate, the House of Representatives, county commissions and school boards are vying for your attention, as well.

Here’s a list of some of the things you’ll need to know:

Key dates

  • Deadlines to register: July 25 (primary election), Oct. 11 (general election)
  • Deadlines to request a mail-in ballot: Aug. 23 (primary election) and Oct. 29 (general election)
  • Florida primary election: Aug. 23
  • General election: Nov. 8

How to register

You can register to vote online here.

To be eligible to vote, you must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States of America;
  • Be a legal resident of Florida;
  • Be a legal resident of the county in which you seek to be registered;
  • Be at least 16 years old to preregister or at least 18 years old to register and vote;
  • Not be a person who has been adjudicated mentally incapacitated with respect to voting in Florida or any other state without having the right to vote restored; and,
  • Not be a person convicted of a felony without having your right to vote restored.

You will also need:

  • Your Florida driver license (Florida driver’s license) or Florida identification card (Florida ID card) issued by the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles
  • The issued date of your Florida driver’s license or Florida ID card;
  • The last four digits of your Social Security number.

The deadline to register for an upcoming election is 29 days before that election.

Vote by mail

Voters can obtain a mail-in ballot through their county’s Supervisors of Elections offices. The deadlines to obtain a ballot are Aug. 13 (for the primary election) and Oct. 29 (for the general election).

Click on your county for information on requesting a mail-in ballot:

Early voting

Voters will have an eight-day window where they can cast their ballots at their local polling places ahead of the primary and general elections:

  • Primary election: Aug. 13-20
  • General election: Oct. 29-Nov. 5

Each county Supervisor of Elections may offer more days of early voting from one or more of the following days:

  • Primary Election: Aug. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 21
  • General Election: Oct. 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, and Nov. 6

Check with your county Supervisor of Election office for available dates.

Polling locations

You can find your precinct within your county by selecting your county below:

Tampa Bay-area elections

Two Congressional districts in the region should be hotly contested.

Eight people have qualified for a newly redrawn congressional district that includes western St. Petersburg and southern Pinellas County. On the Republican side are Anna Paulina Luna, Amanda Makki, Kevin Hayslett and Christine Quinn, who ran against Tampa Democrat Kathy Castor two years ago. The winner of August’s primary will face Eric Lynn, the sole Democrat to qualify. State Rep. Ben Diamond and Michele Rayner dropped out after being drawn out of the district.

Castor’s seat now includes downtown St. Petersburg. The Democrat faces a primary challenge from Christopher Bradley, with the winner facing Republican James Judge in November.

Incumbent Republican Scott Franklin is leaving Congressional District 15, which includes northern Hillsborough, southern Pasco and northeastern Polk counties. Democrat Alan Cohn is running again and will face off against three other Democrats. Several heavyweight Republicans are running, including state Senator Kelli Stargel, state Representative Jackie Toledo and former Secretary of State Laurel Lee.

Click here for a list of candidates running for U.S. House, state House and state Senate seats.

  • Click here for local Pinellas County races
  • Click here for local Hillsborough County races
  • Click here for local Pasco County races
  • Click here for local Sarasota County races
  • Click here for local Manatee County races
  • Click here for local Hernando County races
  • Click here for local Citrus County races
  • Click here for local Polk County races

Statewide races

Governor:
The big election statewide this year will pit Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis against the winner of the Democratic primary, which includes Congressman and former Gov. Charlie Crist and Agriculture Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried, the only Democrat currently serving in statewide office.

U.S. Senate:
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of South Florida is looking to retain his seat for another six years. His main opponent is Democrat Val Demings, a former Orlando police chief.

Attorney General:
Tampa Republican Ashley Moody is looking to be re-elected to the state’s top legal post. She’ll face the winner of the Democratic primary: Aramis Ayala of Orlando; Jim Lewis of Fort Lauderdale or Daniel Uhlfelder of Santa Rosa Beach.

Chief Financial Officer:
Incumbent Republican Jimmy Patronis of Panama City is looking to be re-elected against Democrat Adam Hattersley of Tampa.

Commissioner of Agriculture:
The winner of this crowded field will replace incumbent Democrat Nikki Fried, who is running in the primary for governor.

The main candidates are Republicans Wilton Simpson of Pasco County — the current state Senate president — and James Shaw of Vero Beach.

Democrats vying in the primary include Naomi Esther Blemur of North Miami; J. R. Gaillot of Gainesville; and Ryan Morales of Clermont.

You can find a complete list of candidates here.

Amendments

There are three Constitutional amendments on the statewide ballot this year:

Abolishing the Constitution Revision Commission
This would abolish the Constitution Revision Commission, which meets at 20-year intervals and is scheduled to next convene in 2037, as a way to submit proposed amendments or revisions to the State Constitution.

Limitation on Assessment of Real Property Used for Residential Purposes
This would prohibit the consideration of any change or improvement made to real property used for residential purposes to improve the property’s resistance to flood damage in determining the assessed value of such property for ad valorem taxation purposes.

Additional Homestead Property Tax Exemption for Specified Critical Public Services Workforce
This amendment would grant an additional homestead tax exemption for non-school levies of up to $50,000 of the assessed value of homestead property owned by classroom teachers, law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, child welfare services professionals, active duty members of the United States Armed Forces, and Florida National Guard members.

Referendums

Funding for schools is a big issue this primary election, including votes to increase property taxes to help fund public schools in Hillsborough and Pasco County.

And in November, voters in Polk County will be asked to revive a program that would use an increase in property taxes to help protect environmentally sensitive lands:

Hillsborough County

School tax referendum
The School Board of Hillsborough County wants to levy an additional tax of ad valorem operating millage of 1 mil annually (one dollar of tax for each $1,000 of assessment) from July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2027, to help recruit and retain highly qualified teachers and staff; expand art, music, and physical education; and expand workforce development, sharing funds with charter schools.

Pasco County

School tax referendum
The District School Board of Pasco County would levy an additional operational ad valorem millage not to exceed one mill beginning July 1, 2023, and ending no later than June 30, 2027, for essential operating expenses to maintain salaries competitive with the market, attract and retain high-quality teachers, bus drivers, and other non-administrative school support employees.

Polk County

Environmental lands referendum
The group “Polk Forever” wants to resurrect a property tax that was in place from 1994 to 2015. It would levy a tax of 20 cents per $1,000 on taxable property for 20 years. It is estimated this would cost the average Polk homeowner $30 a year.

Polk’s Environmental Lands Program has been able to finance the protection of more than 26,000 acres all over Polk County since voters approved the original tax referendum in 1994.

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