It’s officially the start of an election year, with three major ones coming up in Florida.

One of the big elections for Floridians is the Presidential Preference Primary Election, which is part of the presidential nominating process for Florida’s two major political parties.

According to the Florida Division of Elections, voters registered with those parties express their preference for the presidential candidate they would like to see representing their party on the General Election ballot.

When is the Florida Presidential Preference Primary?

Florida’s 2024 presidential preference primary election is Tuesday, March 19.

What parties can vote in the Florida Presidential Preference Primary?

There will only be a primary for the Republican party this year. The Florida Democratic Party already chose President Joe Biden for this November’s ballot last year.

“The process to be on the Florida Democratic primary ballot was made publicly available and clearly states that the deadline to submit nominations for the ballot must be submitted to the Secretary of State by November 30, 2023. This is the standard process,” Florida Democrats said in a statement after facing backlash.

Michael Steinberg, a former chairman of the Hillsborough County Democratic Party, filed a lawsuit Dec. 5, citing the Florida election law that allows a party to dictate which names appear on its presidential primary ballot. He also said his constitutional rights as a voter were violated by the decision to exclude Minnesota Congressman Dean Phillips on the ballot.

U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor denied his request for an emergency court order on Jan. 12, ruling that Steinberg’s case does not show a “substantial likelihood of success” based on its merits.

What is the deadline to register to vote in the Florida Presidential Preference Primary?

According to the Division of Elections, these are the dates to be aware of as the presidential preference primary approaches:

  • Deadline to send vote-by-mail ballots to Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act voters: Saturday, Feb. 3

  • Deadline to send vote-by-mail ballots to domestic voters: Thursday, Feb. 8 through Thursday, Feb. 15

  • Deadline to register to vote: Tuesday, Feb. 20 (Note that Monday, Feb. 19 is a federal holiday, President’s Day)

  • Early voting period (mandatory period): Saturday, March 9 through Saturday, March 16

  • Deadline to request that ballot be mailed: Thursday, March 7

Who is on the ballot for the Florida Presidential Primary?

Florida governor and presidential candidate Ron DeSantis speaks at the South Carolina capitol in Columbia, SC, following the Iowa caucus where he finished second behind former president Donald Trump.

Florida governor and presidential candidate Ron DeSantis speaks at the South Carolina capitol in Columbia, SC, following the Iowa caucus where he finished second behind former president Donald Trump.

As for who is on the ballot, Ballotpedia says these candidates are seeking the Republican nomination:

How do I vote in a presidential primary election? Where can I register to vote?

Florida’s Presidential Preference Primary is a closed-primary election. You must be a registered voter in the party for which the primary is being held.

However, local nonpartisan elections might be held at the same time as the PPP Election. In those elections, all eligible voters can vote for those local races. Check with your local elections office to see if your city is having any elections.

For those who want register to vote in Florida, you must:

  • Be a Citizen of the United States (a lawful permanent resident, commonly referred to as a “green card holder,” does not have the right to register or vote in Florida);

  • Be a Florida resident;

  • Be at least 18 years old (you may pre-register to vote if you are 16 years old);

  • Not have been adjudicated mentally incapacitated with respect to voting in Florida or any other state without having the right to vote restored;

  • Not have been convicted of a felony without your voting rights having been restored.

Next, Florida election officials say you can apply to register to vote in any of the following ways:

  • Online at RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov

  • Apply through any of these agencies while accessing their services:

    • Florida driver’s license offices. You also have the option to submit voter registration information online when you renew your driver’s license online through the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ online renewal system. For more information, visit GoRenew.com.

    • Tax collector’s office that issues driver licenses or Florida identification cards

    • Voter registration agency. For more information about who these agencies are, visit our NVRA webpage.

  • By mail or in person.

If you need to update your information on your registration before any of the upcoming elections, head to RegistertoVoteFlorida.gov or reach out to your county Supervisor of Elections.

When is the Statewide Primary Election?

Florida’s statewide primary is on Tuesday, Aug. 20 for the purpose of nominating party nominees to be voted for in the general election to fill a national, state, county, or district office.

A primary election is held 11 weeks before the general election.

When is the General Election?

The General Election is on Tuesday, Nov. 5. This election is open to all voters regardless of party affiliation.

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Florida Presidential Primary Election: When is it, how to register

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