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Florida's primary registration deadline nears ahead of pivotal midterm election

'If you don't have a big primary at the top of the ticket within a party, it's really hard to generate a lot of interest,' Dr. Susan MacManus says
Posted at 5:51 PM, Jul 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-25 17:51:24-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The voter registration deadline for Florida's Aug. 23 primary is midnight Monday.

Both political parties are watching to see which has the most interest ahead of the pivotal midterms.

Political experts believe the Democrats' big primary battle for governor is likely helping drive interest in this cycle. It's crucial for the party, which typically sees lower turnout in midterms when compared to GOP voters.

"If you don't have a big primary at the top of the ticket within a party, it's really hard to generate a lot of interest unless you've got a hot local congressional race or some local race," Dr. Susan MacManus, University of South Florida professor emerita, said.

So far, state data shows Democrats are behind in ballots received. With more than 100,000 mail-in primary votes cast as of midday Monday, Republicans have a margin of more than 5,000. The GOP is also still growing its lead in voter registrations.

The latest numbers from Florida's Department of State, dated June 30, show the party’s deficit to the GOP is now 202,321. That's up from around 43,000 at the start of the year.

MacManus said Republicans are likely banking off a Democratic president with poor approval and a souring economy.

"You have both of those conditions of what Republicans are viewing as a perfect formula for Republican gains in 2022," she said.

There is still time for the numbers to change. Democrats are trying hard to make that happen. Several grassroots efforts are underway to engage minorities, Black voters in particular.

Meanwhile, both parties trying to swing crucial independent voters with competing messages on abortion, gun rights and the economy — likely the biggest issues this year.

Those who have yet to register for the primary can visit RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov to get signed up, check their voter status, change party affiliation or request a mail ballot.