Student Voter Guide for Florida’s 2018 Primary Election

Why primaries matter

Primary elections determine which candidates will appear on the November ballot for each of the two major political parties, and sometimes for third parties. So they’re your prime chance to choose the eventual candidates. Even if your first choice doesn’t win, your votes can also influence the stands of the candidates who do.

Primaries replaced a system where candidates were chosen by party leaders or participants in party caucuses. They more accurately reflect our democracy by letting the general public select the candidates.

The Importance of Mid-Terms

In November 2018, voters will participate in a mid-term election, or one held between presidential-election years. Mid-term elections can be an important opportunity to express support or dissatisfaction with a president’s performance and policies. 2018 primaries will include candidate nominations for 34 U.S. Senate seats, all 435 U.S. Representative seats, plus governors, other statewide officials, and state legislative seats.

Who can vote in a primary election?


You’re eligible to vote in Florida if you are a U.S. citizen, a Florida resident (including out of state college students) and are at least 18 years old by election day. Lawful permanent residents, commonly referred to as “green card holders” are not eligible to vote, and former felons must have their voting rights specifically restored, although there’s a ballot initiative to change this.

ID Requirements for registering – provide one of the following:

  • Florida ID number
  • Student ID
  • Florida driver’s license number
  • The last four digits of your social security number
  • A copy of one of the documents listed on the election website (passport, utility bill, debit or credit card, etc.)

ID requirements for voting

Florida requires a photo ID with signature to vote, but if your ID lacks a signature, you can bring another ID with a signature, such as a debit or credit card. If you do not have the proper ID, you can vote a provisional ballot.

How to register

In Florida you can register by mail, in person at your election office, or online. See Key Resources for online access to registration forms.

Absentee ballots

Any registered voter can pick up an absentee ballot in person or request that it be mailed to from your County Supervisor of Elections.

Address to use for registering & voting

Per federal election law, college students can register and vote at either their campus address or their permanent home address, which may be out of state.   However, voters can only be registered at one address. If you are not going to physically be in the state where you plan to vote, you will need to request an absentee ballot.

It’s your choice where to register, since registering at your campus address will not:

  • Affect your federal financial aid
  • Prevent your parents from claiming you as a dependent on their taxes
  • Cost you any scholarships, unless they’re tied to specific residency requirements
  • Or affect your tuition status as an in-state or out-of-state student.

Additional information

For more detailed student voting guides, visit Campus Vote Project




  • July 30: Registration or changing party affiliation
  • Aug 22: Absentee ballot request received by County Supervisor of Elections.
  • Aug 28: Absentee ballot returned
  • Aug 18 – Aug 25: Early voting
  • Aug 28: Primary Election



  • Closed primary: Voter must be registered and enrolled in a political party to vote in that party’s primary. But all registered voters, regardless of party affiliation, can vote on issues and nonpartisan candidates.