Floridians change party affiliation before primary

- The last day of voter registration before the presidential primary on March 15 yielded lots of change, if not a large difference in party registration.

FOX 13 spoke with potential voters Tuesday - the deadline for registering to vote in the Florida primaries.

Serena Scott of Seffner arrived at Hillsborough County election headquarters to register as a Democrat. Matthew Parks of Tampa arrived to change his registration to Republican.

They're two of the 3,300 Hillsborough voters to change parties since the beginning of 2016. 

Parks said he would like to vote for Trump in the primary.

"He is kind of extreme," Parks said. "I think we need an extreme to fix the extreme that's going on now."

Scott said she will vote for Sanders.

"He has been holding fast in his values for basically as long as he's been a politician," she explained.

If neither of their chosen candidates win, change is happening.

In Polk County, more than 5,200 have changed parties, as compared to about 2,000 in 2008 - the last time both parties had primaries.

In Pinellas County, about 4,600 have changed, compared again to only about 2,000 in 2008.

Christopher Cano of Tampa says he convinced 10 people to register as Democrats to vote for Sanders.

"He is not just giving out rhetoric, but he has real policies that people want to see," Cano said.

It's still difficult to tell whether either party is reaping a benefit from the changes in party affiliation.  The GOP saw a net gain of about 300 voters in Pinellas, a county of 625,000 voters.

The GOP's gain was smaller in Hillsborough County.

"I think there was a grand total of nine voters' difference between the two parties," said Elections Supervisor Craig Latimer.

Voters seemed to be more concerned with what is happening within the parties.  Joe Masotti of Plant City became a Republican just to block Trump.

"As much of a good businessman as he is, I don't see him as, I don't want him as our president," Masotti, who plans to support Ted Cruz, said.

The deadline to register for the general election is October 11.

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