Time’s running out to register to vote in Florida’s presidential primaries

Voters casting ballots. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

With the deadline to register to vote in Florida’s presidential preference primary elections fast approaching, Republicans and Democrats alike are rushing to sign up new voters.

The registration deadline is next Tuesday, Feb. 18. The primaries are scheduled for March 17 and the general election on Nov. 3. Here’s the Florida Division of Elections webpage with the relevant dates.

You can register through your local supervisor of elections or through the Florida Division of Elections website.

And yes there is a GOP primary. Taking on President Trump are Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, a business man and real estate developer from California; Bill Weld, the former governor of Massachussetts; and Joe Walsh, a former congressman who’ll appear on the ballot even though he’s withdrawn from the race.

Meanwhile, the Florida Democratic Party has been waging a voter registration campaign that, according to executive director Juan Penalosa, is averaging 321 new voters per day, up from 28 per day last June.

Penalosa estimates the party will meet its goal of signing up 200,000 voters by August.

The Republican Party of Florida is conducting registration drives in every Florida county. One of these events was marred over the weekend when a man, reportedly motivated by antipathy to President Trump, drove a van into a tent full of party activists. No one was hurt but the man was arrested.

“Voter registration events are being hosted all across the state,” party chairman Joe Gruters said in a written statement.

“We are seeing a lot of excitement to re-elect President Trump — in fact, just this week we flipped Taylor County. The RPOF is committed to keeping Florida Red.”

Actually, Democrats enjoyed an edge in party registration as of Dec. 31 – 4,986,520 compared to 4,761,405 for the Republicans. Voters espousing no party identification numbered 3,641,359.

However, Republicans control the governor’s office and the Legislature, and hold two out of three statewide-elected Florida Cabinet seats and both U.S. Senate seats.

Another thing: While Amendment 4, Florida’s felon voting rights restoration measure, is tied up in court, many supervisors of elections are advising ex-felons to feel free to register if they are confident they’ve fulfilled all court-ordered financial obligations.