Santa Rosa County Supervisor of Elections

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Elections officials in both Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties plan workshops next week, for those interested in running for office in 2018.

These workshops are useful because many who seek public office have not done so before, and for political veterans it’s a refresher course.

“We have a lot of people that come into our office; obviously, they’re curious about what offices are up for election and what it means to be a candidate,” said Tappie Villane, Elections Supervisor in Santa Rosa County.

volusiademocraticparty.org

Almost four and a half million people already have voted in the battleground state of Florida, according to the state Division of Elections.

That’s including a larger turnout so far in the western Panhandle.

Supervisors of Elections in the three counties report a record in the number of voter registrations for an election cycle: 130,000 in Santa Rosa County and  135,000 in Okaloosa.

Voters in Florida go to the polls Tuesday for the state primary: that is, those who haven’t already taken advantage of casting ballots early or by mail.

Escambia County ended just shy of 9,000 early voters, 8,826 is the unofficial turnout figure for the early voting period, August 20-27. David Stafford, Escambia County’s Supervisor of Elections, adds that figure is 103 percent over the 2014 primary, and up 32 percent over 2012.

Photo via Flickr//Steve Cornelius / https://flic.kr/p/dqv6XU

Early voting in Santa Rosa County for the August 30 primary kicked off Monday, for voters wanting to avoid the Election Day crush at the polls. 

Santa Rosa County is definitely one of the reddest in Florida. Registered Republicans outnumber Democrats by a nearly three-to-one margin, 75,000 to 26,000. Minor party and no party affiliation also surpass Democrats, at nearly 27,000.

Photo via Flickr// NadineOG / https://flic.kr/p/dpFYRg

There are two weeks left to register to vote in the Florida primaries on March 15th. By Florida law, the registration books have to close 29 days before an election. In this case, that’s February 16.

Escambia County Elections Supervisor David Stafford says only voters registered as Democrats or Republicans can vote in this primary. About 21% of the county’s registered voters are either No Party Affiliation, or belong to a minor party.

Photo via Flickr//Vox Efx

  Eight days of early voting in Escambia County ended on Saturday, as did 13 days in Santa Rosa and Okaloosa. And now, other voters must actually go to the polls on Tuesday to vote in the primary.

Of the three counties in the western Panhandle, Okaloosa collected the most votes in the early period, at just under 6,200. Paul Lux, the county’s Elections Supervisor, says despite the most recent numbers, early voting is gaining in popularity. Absentee ballots processed in Okaloosa County as of Monday total just under 5,000.

Photo via Flickr//Vox Efx

  Early voting got underway Monday in two of the three western Panhandle counties.

Voters in Santa Rosa and Okaloosa Counties can cast ballots prior to the August 26 primary through Saturday, August 23. Tappie Villane, the Elections Supervisor in Santa Rosa, says the stream of people was fairly steady on day one. Those wishing to vote in the primary, either early or on Election Day, will need to bring some form of photo ID.

A report by the left-leaning watchdog group Center for American Progress Action Fund ranks the best and worst counties in Florida for voting in last year's presidential election.  Meanwhile, local elections supervisors are firing back.  

Called "Florida's Worst Election Offenders," the study uses data from the U-S Elections Assistance Commission, divided up into nine factors, to gauge how well the state’s 40 most populous counties measured up.