Floridians who want a say in this year’s general election need to make sure they are registered to vote by today.
After today, any Floridian who registers to vote will be added to the state’s voter rolls but will be ineligible to cast a vote in the presidential race or any other race on the Nov. 3 ballot. Registered voters can still make changes to their voter information after the deadline, including updating addresses.
Voter registration this year has followed an unusual pattern as the coronavirus pandemic affected the avenues used to register new voters.
In the six months before March — before the pandemic had really gripped the United States — new voter registrations had been outpacing 2016 levels in Florida, according to state data.
But new voter registrations plummeted in the spring as many Floridians began avoiding public spaces and local driver’s license locations — where a significant proportion of new voters register — and other government offices closed to the public. Voter registration efforts were impeded, too, without big events and with door-to-door and other in-person efforts stymied.
New voter registrations rebounded in June as Floridians began venturing out more. Some get-out-the-vote groups pivoted more toward online and digital campaigns. Protests sparked in many cities by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis may have also played a role in increasing civic engagement.
The number of new voter registrations from the beginning of the year through August is up about 6 percent compared to the same time period in 2016.
The last several weeks before a general election normally see huge numbers of new voter registrations as people become increasingly aware of the impending deadline. It’s unclear how big that surge has been this year.
As of the end of August, there were more than 14 million active registered voters in Florida.
The number of registered Democrats just slightly edge the number of Republicans by about 184,000, with the margin between the two parties appearing to be at a historically close level.
No-party-affiliated voters make up more than a quarter of active registered voters.
Voters can go to the state’s official online site at RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov and register before midnight. If a resident chooses to mail in the voter registration application, it must be postmarked by Monday, Oct. 5, in order for the voter to be eligible to vote in the general election.
Tampa Bay Times elections coverage
Voter guide is coming soon: The Tampa Bay Times will publish a special election section Sunday, Oct. 18 with information on local races. You can also access our Know Your Candidates guide at tampabay.com/voterguide beginning Sunday, Oct. 11.
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