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Registration deadline nears for presidential preference primary

By Staff | Feb 5, 2016

Voters who want to see a particular candidate move closer to being a party’s nominee must be registered with that party in order to vote for them in the March election.

Because the state of Florida is a closed primary state, the state’s Presidential Preference Primary on March 15 will be a closed primary. This means voters must be registered as a Republican to vote for a Republican candidate, or they must be registered as a Democrat to vote for a Democratic candidate.

Voters who are registered as NPA – No Party Affiliation – or with a minor party are not eligible to vote in the state’s Presidential Preference Primary, according to the Lee County Elections Office.

“In most primary elections, you need to be registered for the party you want to vote for,” Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington said. “When it’s a partisan race, you have to be registered for that party.”

These primaries help determine which candidates should be nominated at each party’s national convention to serve as the parties’ candidates in the general election, which is set for Nov. 8.

The deadline to change one’s party affiliation, or register to vote, is Feb. 16.

“Party changes must be in writing,” she said.

Voters can fill out an application at any of the following four office locations:

* Cape Coral Branch Office, 1039 S.E. Ninth Ave., (239) 533-7031

* Downtown Fort Myers, 2480 Thompson St., Third Floor, Fort Myers, (239) 533-8683

* South Fort Myers Branch Office, 13180 S. Cleveland Ave., Fort Myers, (239) 533-6918

* Bonita Springs Branch Office, 25987 S Tamiami Trail, Suite 105, Bonita Springs, (239)949-1581

Voters can also download the application from the Lee County Elections Office’s website at: www.leeelections.com, then mail the form in or drop it off any any of the locations.

“They can also get the application through the libraries,” Harrington said.

Those who want to request a mail ballot for the primary have until March 9 to do so.

“That has to be a local address that it’s going to,” she said.

The mail ballots must be received at the main office by 7 p.m. March 15 – Election Day.

“Read the instructions carefully. They need to be sure to sign it,” Harrington said.

She noted that the Lee County Elections Office covers the return postage.

“It’s already paid for,” she said.

As of Thursday, over 117,000 mail ballots had been requested.

Early voting for the primary will take place on March 5-12 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“We have 10 (polling) sites in Lee County,” Harrington said, adding that voters can go to any one.

On Election Day, voters will be required to visit their designated polling location.

“We will need a photo signature ID,” she said.

Voters who need to update their information are encouraged to do so early.

“We are really trying to encourage anyone who has moved since they voted last time and have not changed information to get in touch with us,” Harrington said. “Let us know before Election Day.”

She added that new voter cards, with district, races and such, will be sent out shortly.

“They can pull that up on our website, as well,” Harrington said.

For more information about elections, candidates, early voting, mail ballots or precinct locations, contact the Elections Office at (239) LEE-VOTE (533-8683) or visit: www.leeelections.com.