Because voting is near and dear to my heart, I have created this section, Election Connection, to keep voters in Pine Hills and its surrounding communities informed of what’s happening in local, state and national elections.
Stories and photos will be posted under this main tab and here is some general information that every voter here needs to know.
First, if you have never registered to vote and you want to vote for the next election (the August primaries) you must register by MONDAY, JULY 16, 2012. (postmarked application or received in the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office) If you want to change your party affiliation, you must do so by that same date also. The next election date is Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012.
Even if you have voted in the past, you should verify that you are registered to vote for the upcoming August primaries.
Why? Well, for one, things may have changed on your end. For two, things have definitely changed on the state of Florida’s end.
Many of you have moved since the last general election in 2008 so update your address with the elections office. Same thing if you have changed your name for whatever reason, fill out the form and send it back or take it back to the elections office.
Like me, you may have received a notice from the elections office that Florida law changed recently, regarding signature verification of absentee ballots.
If you normally vote by absentee ballot or you originally registered to vote before 1995, fill out the form from the office and send it back before July 16. It comes with a No Postage Necessary envelope; you don’t even have to pay for the stamp to make the update!
“When in doubt, fill it out,” said Phyllis Hancock, president of the Philip Randolph Institute of Central Florida, a civil rights organization.
Hancock, speaking at a voter education program recently at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Eatonville, said that statistics show that 60 percent of provisional ballots are tossed out and not counted. Provisional ballots are given out and used on election day for voters whose information has to be verified at a later date. If it turns out that you voted at the wrong precinct, your vote will not be counted, she said.
Local activists like Hancock are doing their part to inform as many voters (and prospective voters) of changes going on statewide. It’s up to us to get out and do the work…vote our interests and for the candidates whose ideals best match our interests.
That is it for now but stay connected because there is more! Stories on new districts, new and incumbent candidates, early voting and amendments are coming soon!To check your voter registration status quickly online go to: www.orangecountyvotes.com You can call or visit the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office at: 119 W. Kaley Street, Orlando, FL 32806. (407) 836-2070.
© Orlando Community News, 2012