By ASHLEY AMASON
In the Walton County primary election, many voters may be confused or intimidated by the electoral process. Here are some tips to prepare voters before they make their way to the polls.
Florida is a closed primary state. This means the primary is limited to registered party members. Florida recognizes three major parties: Republican, Democrat, and nonpartisan. However, voters are able to vote for candidates outside of their party when candidates of only one party qualified for the primary election. This is called a universal primary. For instance, if a race contains only Republicans, even Democrats and independent voters can still vote in the race.
The only primary races at the county level that voters registered as Democrat or nonpartisan will not be able to vote on are State Representative District Five between Sherry Campbell and Brad Drake and the sheriff’s race. The Democratic candidate for sheriff, Danny Griffith, is unopposed and therefore automatically proceeds to the general election. Thus, only Republicans will be able to vote for a sheriff’s candidate in the primary.
Before voters trek to the courthouse for early voting (until Aug. 23), or to their precinct to vote on Aug. 26, 2008, they are encouraged to do three things by Supervisor of Elections Bobby Beasley.
First, examine the sample ballots online at www.votewaltoncounty.com. Here, voters can find the Republican, Democrat, and nonpartisan ballots by precinct and review them to ensure they know which ballot they should receive at the courthouse or precinct.
Second, it is the voter’s responsibility to ensure they have received the correct ballot. Voters should receive the ballot titled with their party designation. To avoid confusion, the Republican ballot header is light blue, the Democratic ballot header is gray, and the nonpartisan ballot header is yellow.
Third, vote early. It is an easy, quick process to vote early at either the Walton County Courthouse or the South Walton Courthouse Annex. All voters need to present their driver’s licenses. Voters can request an absentee ballot from the Elections office at 892-8112.