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FAQ - Elections

Webpage last updated: May 25, 2022

  1. Where can I locate information on upcoming elections, including the Presidential Preference Primary?
    • A General Election is held in November of every even-numbered year. The Primary Election for nominating party nominees for the General Election is 11 weeks before the General Election. Additionally, a Presidential Preference Primary is held on the third Tuesday in March of each presidential election year. Special elections may be called at any time during the year.  Further information can be found on our Election Dates page. 
  2. Where can I find information about the Electoral College and how the President of the United States is actually elected?
    • The National Archives' website explains the history and operation of the Electoral College. The Office of the Federal Register coordinates the functions of the Electoral College on behalf of the Archivist of the United States, the States, the Congress, and the American People.
  3. How do I become a poll worker?
    • Contact your county Supervisor of Elections about becoming a poll worker. A poll worker is required to attend at least 2 hours of training (at least 3 hours if holding a higher position) prior to each election that he or she is serving. A poll worker is paid. As a poll worker you must be a registered qualified elector of the county in which you are serving. You must also be able to read and write the English language. Bi-lingual speakers (especially those who speak Spanish) are encouraged to apply and serve.
  4. Must a poll watcher be a registered voter?
    • Yes. Each poll watcher must be a registered voter of the county in which he or she serves.
  5. May a candidate serve as a poll watcher?
    • No candidate, sheriff, deputy sheriff, police officer or other law enforcement officer may serve as a poll watcher.
  6. What percentage comprises a win in the primary?
    • The partisan candidate receiving the highest number of votes will be nominated. In nonpartisan races, if no candidate receives a majority of the votes, the top two candidates will be voted on in the general election.
  7. I want to vote in the primary. Do I have to be a Democrat or Republican?
    • Since Florida is a closed primary state, only voters who are registered members of the respective political party's candidates can vote for those candidate nominees in a primary election. Typically that would be either one of the two major political parties (Republicans and Democrats) but it can also include minor political parties if they have candidates for an office on the primary election ballot. All registered voters can vote in a primary election, regardless of which major or minor political party they are registered or even if they are registered without a specific party affiliation when:
      • All the candidates for an office have the same party affiliation and the winner of the primary election will not face any opposition in the general election (i.e. no write-in candidates have qualified).
      • The race is nonpartisan (i.e., prohibited from qualifying or campaigning based upon party affiliation) (e.g., judicial and school board offices, nonpartisan special districts or local referendum questions).
    • At a general election, all registered voters receive the same ballot and may vote for any candidate or question on the ballot. If there are write-in candidates who have qualified for a particular office, a space will be left on the general election ballot where their name can be written.
  8. Are all judges retained in office by voting "for retention" or "against retention?"
    • Justices of the Supreme Court and Judges of the District Courts of Appeal are subject to retention voting. Circuit judges and county judges are subject to election just like other candidates except where a local option has passed calling for selection of these judges by merit selection and retention voting. (See Sections 105.036, 105.041(2), 105.051(2), F.S., and Article V, Section 10, Florida Constitution) At the present time, all circuit judges and county court judges are elected.
  9. Where can I find election results (current or past)?
    • Visit our webpage on Elections Data for election results. In Florida, election results are reported in several stages, starting with preliminary (unofficial) election night results and ending with the certification of official results two weeks after Election Day. On Election Day, live statewide results for federal, state, multicounty and special elections are available online after 8:00 p.m. (EST) on the Division of Elections' Florida Election Watch website (website is activated a week before Election Day). Results are released after 8:00 p.m. (EST) to allow for polls to close in Florida's central time zone counties.
  10. What is voter turnout?
    • Voter turnout refers to the percentage of eligible registered voters who cast a ballot in the election. The statewide voter turnout is calculated based on the total number of registered voters who cast a ballot versus the number of active eligible registered voters in the book closing report for the upcoming state election. Visit our webpage on Elections Data for past voter turnout.
  11. What is a recount?
    • A recount may consist of only a machine recount or a machine recount following by a manual recount.  See sections 102.141 (7) and 102.166, Fla. Stat.
      • A machine recount means all ballots are "re-fed" (re-tabulated) into the machine. Ballots that have overvotes (where the voter chose more than allowed in the race) and ballots that have undervotes (where the voter made no choice or fewer than the number of allowable choices) in the race being recounted are set aside. Those ballots with overvotes and undervotes will be reviewed in a manual recount if subsequently ordered.
      • A manual recount consists solely of a hand recount of overvotes and undervotes in the affected race. You cannot have a manual recount without the machine recount first.  If a county has already processed and scanned their ballots through a state certified automatic tabulating equipment that is not part of the voting system, the canvassing board is not required to put each ballot through any automatic tabulating equipment again but may use those images to conduct the recount.
  12. What triggers a recount?
    • A machine recount is triggered when a candidate is defeated or eliminated by 1/2 of 1% or less (.5% or less) of the total votes cast in the affected contest. The same threshold applies for a judicial candidate for retention who was retained or not retained, or a public measure (e.g. constitutional amendment) that was approved or rejected. If the candidate or judicial candidate asks that a recount not be conducted, a machine recount is not required. 
    • A manual recount is triggered when the results of the machine recount show that the candidate was actually defeated or eliminated by ¼ of 1% or less (.25% or less) of the total votes cast for the affected contest. The same threshold applies for a judicial candidate for retention who was retained or not retained, or a public measure (e.g., constitutional amendment) that was approved or rejected. If the candidate or judicial candidate asks that a recount not be conducted, a manual recount is not required. If the number of overvotes and undervotes is less than the number of votes needed to change the elections’ outcome, a manual recount is also not required.
    • Recounts may only be ordered by the Secretary of State (for federal, state, multi-county races and districts) and by the county canvassing boards (for county and local races).