February 18 is deadline to register for Florida's presidential primary

Floridians who want to participate in the March 17 Presidential Preference Primary must be registered to vote in the state by next Tuesday, February 18. 

Florida is a closed primary state, so only those registered with one of the two major political parties will be able to vote in the election. 

“A lot of people forget, especially people from out-of-state who have different laws in their previous state, that Florida is a closed primary state,” explained Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley.

The Democratic ballot includes 16 candidates running to unseat President Donald Trump, who also faces three opponents in the Republican primary. 

Earley says there are numerous ways to get signed up to vote in Florida. He adds voters should be certain of their party affiliation before arriving at the polls next month, as that determines who will appear on their ballot.

“You can come by our office and do it. You can do it online. We have got online voter registration, which also functions as an ability to change your party. Certainly, you can change your party for this election, and then change right back. There are no prohibitions about that,” Earley explained.

As of the end of 2019, there were more than 13.5 million registered voters in Florida, including just shy of five million Democrats, more than 4.7 million Republicans and another 3.8 million people registered with third parties or no party affiliation. 

Statewide voter turnout for the 2016 Presidential Preference Primary in Florida was just over 46 percent.