A couple of months ago, John Lewis, the incredible civil rights activist, Congressman from Georgia, and one of my heroes, passed away. He was a fierce advocate of voting and the necessity of voting. In July of 2016, he said, “The right to vote is precious, almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool or instrument in a democratic society. We must use it.”
I’ve never lived in a world where I had to fight for my right to vote. John Lewis and all the Civil Rights Activists throughout history did that for us. Now we get to use that right, and we must use that right.
I know that voting can be intimidating because it seems like there are so many bureaucratic hoops to jump through, but I promise, it’s so much easier than you think. Follow this simple voter guide and you’ll be ready to hit the polls in no time!
In order to vote in Pasco County, there are a couple of things that you need to do.
Step 1: Register to Vote.
In order to vote in the State of Florida, you must be a US citizen and a legal resident of Florida in the county you wish to cast your vote.
You must be 18 years old to vote, but you can pre-register at 16 if you want.
Returning citizens (people who have felony convictions) and individuals who have been deemed “mentally incompetent” must have their civil rights restored before they can cast their vote.
There are plenty of ways to register in Pasco County. You can ALWAYS register to vote online at the Department of State website.
If you prefer to stay offline, there are plenty of other options. You can register to vote at the DMV or the Local Board of Elections. Make sure you call ahead of time to see if they have any appointments available. Because of COVID, many locations require an appointment. You can also register to vote at any Pasco County Library!
In order to register, you will need to provide a current Florida Driver’s License or Florida ID card. If you don’t have either of these Florida issued documents, you will need to provide the last four digits of your Social Security number.
Keep in mind you must register at least 29 days before the election. For the November 3rd Election, you must register to vote by October 5th.
Early Voting is from October 24, 2020-October 31, 2020
Step 2: Check Your Voter Registration
EVERYONE, and I cannot stress this enough, SHOULD CHECK THEIR REGISTRATION.
“I registered as soon as I turned 18. I know I’m registered” – Check it
“I’ve voted in every election since Kennedy” – Check it
“I voted in 2018. I’m good”—You don’t know that! CHECK IT.
The reason I’m screaming at you through this keyboard is because Florida has put nearly 300,000 registered voters who voted in 2016 or later on “inactive lists,” which means they could be purged from the rolls and unable to vote in 2020. It’s crucial that you keep an eye on your voter registration status. If you notice something is off now, you still have time to get it fixed so that you can vote in 2020. My little sister was unable to vote in the 2018 Primary because she was registered as an Independent. She was registered for a party, but somehow that got switched. We updated it after the primary and then she was able to vote in the general election. Please, please, please, check your voter registration.
Step 3: Request a Vote by Mail Ballot
Voting in the middle of a pandemic may seem scary to some and may be impossible to others. If you don’t want to go to the polls or if you can’t go to the polls because you or a family member is high risk, vote by mail is the safest way to go.
You can request a mail-in ballot by submitting a Mail Ballot Request Form or writing to the Supervisor of Elections office.
Step 4: Get Educated!
Make sure to learn a little bit about each of your candidates and then get to the polls on November 3rd to make your voice heard.