The controversial presidential party debates and the nail-biting tension on Election Day Nov. 5 are soon to come but it’s important to understand the steadfast Presidential Preference Primary Election first.
For some students, this will be the first time voting in a presidential election — so here’s what you need to know.
What makes Super Tuesday so “super”?
If you haven’t paid attention to the election up to this point, now’s the time.
On March 3, a large number of states will participate in the presidential primary election nationwide, a day the media has deemed “Super Tuesday.”
Fourteen states and one territory — Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and American Samoa — will be voting for the Democratic nomination.
It’s up to the state’s discretion as to when it will hold its primary election, which is why Florida’s isn’t until March 17.
The vote is early in the primary election process, but it gives insight as to who the frontrunners will be for the presidential election.
A Republican primary is also being held in Florida, however, there are only two candidates running for the GOP compared to the six Democrats.
Some states have cancelled their primaries because President Donald Trump is running as an incumbent, who will likely be the frontrunner for the Republican Party.
How does it work?
Each state holds a certain number of delegates. Whichever candidate has a majority of the delegates by the end takes home the nominee.
Before Super Tuesday, 155 delegates were allotted, 1,357 will be given out tomorrow and 2,467 will be allotted moving forward, according to The Washington Post. A candidate needs 1,991 delegates to guarantee the nomination.
Because four states — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — have already held their elections, the candidates have some delegates secured.
As of March 1, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders is leading with 58 delegates, former vice president Joe Biden has 50, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren has eight and trailing behind is Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar with seven.
Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg had 26 delegates, but he announced Sunday night that he was leaving the Democratic presidential race.
The pledged delegates for the Republican Party are allocated to President Trump with 86 and former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld with one. To be the Republican nominee, Trump will need 1,237 delegates.
Because Florida is a closed-primary state, only people who are registered with a major political party can vote in this election. However, other states are open-primary states, meaning any registered voters — Democrats, Republicans or Independents — are eligible to vote.
I’m ready to vote, now what?
Students will have three options for voting. They can vote by mail (or absentee ballot), vote early or vote on election day. A vote can only be cast in the county the person is registered to vote in, which can be checked on the Florida Division of Elections website.
There will be one question asking for your preferred democratic nomination with a list of the candidates who made the ballot qualifications. Candidates who withdrew from the race will still be on the ballot since it was preprinted Dec. 11.
To receive a mail-in ballot for the presidential primary, students will need to contact their local Supervisor of Elections Office by March 7. Time is of the essence, because if the ballot is not returned by 6 p.m. on election day, then the vote will not be counted. The Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Office recommends sending out the ballot at least a week in advance.
Students can early vote March 2-15 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in person before election day. Students will need to bring identification that includes a photo and signature to USF TECO Hall (David C. Anchin Center), which is one of the 23 early voting centers in Hillsborough County.
Some examples of identification include a Florida driver’s license, an ID card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, U.S. passport, debit or credit card, military ID or a student ID.
For students voting on election day, March 17, they will need to go to their respective precinct with identification. USF TECO Hall will be available for voting from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m, but only for students who are registered to vote with an on-campus address.
If it is helpful, students can bring in a sample ballot to use as a reference even if it is marked. A sample ballot can be requested on votehillsborough.org.
Based on the number of delegates each candidate receives, the Democratic Party will name its nominees for president and vice president at a convention held July 13-16. The Republican Party will announce its nominees at its convention Aug. 24-27.