Florida Election Officials Prepping For Aug. 30 Primary

Jul 28, 2016

Escambia County Elections Supervisor David Stafford
Credit northescambia.com

Supervisors of Elections in Florida’s 67 counties are getting ready for the August 30 primary, including Escambia County’s David Stafford.

Stafford expects a lower turnout for the primary than for the November 8 general election. But he says the August vote is important in and of itself.

“There’s a lot on the ballot this primary,” Stafford says. “Everything from the mayor from the Town of Century all the way up to United States senator. Some school board races, some constitutional offices, county commissioners, etc. that appear on the ballot.”

Stafford says historically, turnout runs between 25-30% for a primary. But he adds that you really can’t compare a primary with a general election.

“When you go back and look at previous general elections over the past couple of cycles, this particular type of election tends to fall in that range,” say Stafford. “But we’ll certainly be ready for a higher turnout.”

Vote-by-mail is coming to a mailbox near you. More than 26,000 green or ivory-colored envelopes that were sent out on Tuesday. Monday’s deadline also applies to voter registration and changing party affiliation. Changing one’s political party – or declaring NPA - no party affiliation – is important says Stafford, because Florida is a closed primary state.

“Which means if you want to participate in the Republican primary, you have to be a registered Republican. If you want to participate in the Democratic primary, you have to be a registered Democrat,” says Stafford. All other voters will receive a non-partisan ballot with the exception of, for the first time ever, we’re having a statewide primary for Libertarians.”

Two U.S. Senate candidates -- Augustus Invictus of Orlando and Paul Stanton of Deland – are competing for the Libertarian nomination.

Meanwhile, the Escambia Elections office will be open from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Monday, August 1, to accommodate last-minute registrations. Stafford says early voting will begin Saturday, August 20 and run through the following Saturday.  

“Our office will be open 8:00-5:00 in downtown Pensacola, and then all the other locations will be 9:00-6:00,” says Stafford. “One new location [is] some office space just for this election cycle on Michigan Avenue, halfway between W Street and Mobile Highway.”

More information about the August 30 primary can be found at www.escambiavotes.com.