BY ANDREAS BUTLER
With Super Tuesday now in the books, the race for the Democratic nomination to challenge President Donald Trump in November heats up.
Early voting for the Preferential Presidential Primary in Volusia County will run from Saturday, March 7, through Saturday, March 14. The primary in Florida is March 17. The deadline to order vote by mail ballots was March. 7.
Florida has closed primaries, meaning in order to vote for a candidate in this election you must be a member of that political party.
Vote your party
This means in order to voter for President Trump, you must be registered as a member of the Republican Party. In order to vote for former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders or Senator Elizabeth Warren – the remaining Democrats in the race – you must already be registered as a member of the Democratic Party.
“That’s the main thing that voters need to know about this particular election. You can only vote for that candidate if you’re registered as a member of that political party,” Supervisor of Elections Lisa Lewis stated by email this week.
The ballot will only include the candidates of the political party in which voters are registered.
Where to vote
On Wednesday, the Supervisor of Elections Office was hard at work setting up early voting locations across the county.
Those locations are as follows: City Island Library, 105 E. Magnolia Ave., Daytona Beach; Deltona City Hall at 2345 Providence Blvd.; Supervisor of Elections Office at 150 S. Woodland Blvd., DeLand; New Smyrna Beach Regional Library at 101 S. Dixie Freeway; Port Orange Library, 1005 City Center Circle; and Ormond Beach Regional Library, 30 S. Beach St.
New polling site
The location in Deltona has changed from the Deltona Library and the Port Orange location is a new site.
“Daytona and New Smyrna are the busiest locations. By opening up a location in Port Orange, we should alleviate those sites a little. I’ve heard from quite a few voters in Port Orange over the years asking for a site. Early voting is growing,” Lewis noted.
Voter turnout is always a concern. There are more than 414,000 registered voters in Volusia County, according to volusiaelections.org, the Supervisor of Elections website. More than 41,000 are inactive voters.
Lewis explained, “Inactive voters are the ones that we have reached out to but haven’t gotten a response from. They are still eligible to vote.”
Optimistic about turnout
Daytona Beach/Volusia County NAACP Cynthia Slater commented, “We are always concerned with turnout, which is often low in the Black community. We must educate and encourage people on how this election affects them.”
Local voting rights organizations and even political entities will also have an eye on the polls in case any irregularities or problems occur.
“We are optimistic. We have great rapport with the Supervisor of Elections, which we can contact and get response instantly,” said Slater.
Volusia County Democratic Black Caucus President Joan Lane added, “We’re not concerned. We do have poll watchers that will be out and watching things to see if anything isn’t going right.”
‘Knocking on doors’
If anyone have any issues, contact the Supervisors of Elections Office at 396-636-5930.
“We want anyone who experiences any issues to contact our office. If I don’t know there is an issue, I can’t correct it. We want everyone to have a pleasant voting experience,” stressed Lewis.
Local organizations have been encouraging people to take the election seriously.
“We’ve been informing people about the process and what they need to know. We also are making calls and informing people about their voting rights and sending out information,” said Lane.
Slater echoed, “We’ve been out knocking on doors and registering people to vote. We’ve been doing voter education. This election is as important as any other has ever been.”
Take ID, patience
The NAACP says there are two things that voters need to keep an eye on.
Slater explained, “The first thing is that people must sign the envelope on their absentee ballots. We had people in the past that did not. Also on Election Day, make sure you have proper identification. People must also be patient with long lines on Election Day.”
For more voter information, visit the Supervisors of Elections website at Volusia Elections.