WEST PALM BEACH, Fla .– The first of several deadlines in a special election to fill the Congressional seat left vacant by the death of U.S. Representative Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., Is fast approaching.
Monday marks the deadline for residents of Palm Beach County or Broward County living in Florida’s 20th Congressional District to change their party affiliation before the Nov. 2 primary election.
Hastings, who has served in the House since 1993, died of pancreatic cancer in April. He was 84 years old.
Republican Governor Ron DeSantis set the dates for the primary and general elections for Nov. 2 and Jan. 11, leaving voters in this predominantly Democratic district without representation in Washington for months.
Do I have the right to vote in special elections?
The short answer is, most likely, yes, provided you meet a few basic requirements and reside in Florida’s 20th Congressional District.
To register on the electoral roll, you must:
- Be a citizen of the United States of America (a lawful permanent resident is not a U.S. citizen for registration and voting purposes);
- Be at least 18 years old (you can pre-register if you are 16 years old);
- Not to be now found to be mentally incompetent with respect to voting in Florida or any other state without your voting rights being reinstated;
- Not have been convicted of a felony in Florida or any other state without your civil rights having been restored;
- Provide your current and valid Florida driver’s license number or Florida ID card number. If you do not have a current and valid Florida driver’s license or ID card number, you must provide the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you do not have any of the above, check the appropriate box provided on the application for registration on the electoral roll.
What do I need to go and vote?
Polling stations are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during special and general elections. Any voter queuing at 7 p.m. will have the opportunity to vote.
To vote, you must provide a Florida driver’s license, ID card, US passport, or other signature photo ID.
Where is Florida’s 20th Congressional District located?
The district includes portions of Palm Beach and Broward counties. This includes parts of Loxahatchee, Royal Palm Beach, West Palm Beach and Lake Park in Palm Beach County and parts of Fort Lauderdale, Miramar and Pompano Beach in Broward County.
Who are the candidates?
In total, 11 Democrats and two Republicans – plus a libertarian and three independents, including a written candidate – are seeking to occupy the seat.
Here are the candidates, in alphabetical order by part:
Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick: CEO of Trinity Health Care Services
Elvin Dowling: A native of West Palm Beach, former Hastings assistant and longtime mentee
Bobby dubose: Minority Leader at Florida House, representing parts of Broward County
Omari hardy: Florida House District 88, former Commissioner of Lake Worth Beach
Dale holness: Broward County Commissioner, former mayor once approved by Hastings
Phil jackson: retired US Navy petty officer
Emmanuel Morel: former chairman of the Palm Beach County Democratic Progressive Caucus
Barbara charief: Broward County Commissioner, formerly the first black mayor
Imran Siddiqui: Doctor of Internal Medicine in Broward County
Priscilla taylor: former state legislator, commissioner and mayor of Palm Beach County
Perry thurston: Florida Senate District 33, representing parts of Broward County
Mike ter Maat: Hallandale Beach Police Officer since 2010
Shelley Fain (to register)
What is the difference between a primary election and a general election?
Florida is a closed primary state, which means that only voters registered with a political party can vote in that party’s primary elections, unless a universal primary ballot takes place. A universal primary competition is when all the candidates for a position have the same party affiliation and the winner will have no opposition in the general election.
This is not the case in this special election, so voters will not be able to vote for a candidate from another party. For example, a Republican voter cannot vote for a Democratic candidate in primary elections and vice versa.
Monday October 4: Deadline to register for primary elections or change party affiliation
Monday December 13: Registration deadline for general elections
Saturday 23 October: 5 p.m. deadline for requesting the postal vote
Tuesday November 2: 7 p.m. deadline for returning the postal vote
Tuesday November 2: District 20 primary election
Tuesday January 11: District 20 General Election
Early voting dates
From Saturday 23 October to Sunday 31 October: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (primary elections)
Saturday Jan 1-Sunday Jan 9: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (general election)
Early polling places
Palm Beach County Library, Belle Glade Branch
725 NW Fourth Street
Belle ClairiÃ¨re 33430
Palm Beach County Library, Main Library
West Palm Beach 33406
Palm Beach County Election Supervisor, West County Branch
2976 State Road 15, second floor
Belle ClairiÃ¨re 33430
Palm Beach State College, Loxahatchee Groves Campus
15845 boul. South
Groves of Loxahatchee 33470
Wells Community and Recreation Center
2409 avenue H W.
Riviera Beach 33404