Get Your Butt Out of Bed and Get Ready to Vote

Republican Senator Marco Rubio is looking to fend off U.S. Representative Val Demings' bid to take his senate seat in Florida's November 8 midterm election.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio is looking to fend off U.S. Representative Val Demings' bid to take his senate seat in Florida's November 8 midterm election. Photo by Gage Skidmore
Hey, you. Yeah, you. The one who's probably sitting on a couch, bed, or comfortable chair doomscrolling through social media, enraged about the latest terrible things people are doing at all levels of government.

Isn't it exhausting to watch the collapse of societal institutions and groan as local, state, and federal politicians get away with pretty much anything in Florida, making you feel powerless?

Well, as it turns out, most people do have the power to do something about it, but time is running out.

October 11 — as in next Tuesday — is the deadline to register to vote in Florida. That means if you haven't registered within the next five days, you won't be able to vote in this year's midterm elections on November 8.

Voter turnout during midterm elections is historically lower than in presidential election years, even though candidates and referendums voted on during midterms often have direct impacts on local communities.

If you meet the requirements to register, you can do so online at RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov. You can also submit a printed registration form by mail to the Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections office at P.O. Box 521550, Miami FL 33152 — but be wary that the clock is ticking.

To be eligible to vote in Miami-Dade County, you must be a U.S. citizen who is 18 or older and is registered to vote at an address within the county.

People convicted of a felony (except murder and sex crimes) in Florida are eligible to vote once they complete their sentence and any parole or probation period — and pay off all court-ordered fines, fees, and restitution tied to their felony case. Though Florida residents passed Amendment 4 in 2018 to restore voting rights to certain felons, a state law passed in 2019 set limits on the amendment, requiring felons to settle financial obligations related to their case before they can vote.

If you've already registered to vote, it may be wise to ask friends and family members if they are registered as well and help them start the process. (It's better than yelling about political apathy at family dinners after relatives don't bother doing their civic duty.)

You can either vote in person on election day or request a mail-in ballot. Mail-in ballots must be received by the Supervisor of Elections office by 7 p.m. on election day, November 8.

To request a vote-by-mail ballot in Miami-Dade County, you can visit the county's vote-by-mail page online and click on "Request vote-by-mail ballot." Also available is a hardcopy request form, which must be mailed to the Supervisor of Elections' P.O. box.

The county must receive those requests — whether submitted online or by mail — by 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 29, ten days before the election.

If a voter requests a vote-by-mail ballot but has a change of heart and decides to vote in person, the Florida Division of Elections recommends bringing that mailed ballot to the polls on election day and exchanging it for a regular ballot.

In Miami-Dade County, this November sees two runoff elections for county commission seats in District 6, which stretches from southern Hialeah to Coral Gables, and in District 2, which encompasses Opa-locka and parts of Liberty City, North Miami and North Miami Beach.

Miami-Dade County voters will also vote in three referendums, including an item to extend a property tax hike meant to boost pay for public school teachers and expand school safety efforts by hiring more school police.

At the state and federal level, there's a slew of U.S. and Florida congressional seats up for grabs, including one of Florida's U.S. Senate seats, currently held by Marco Rubio.

Other major races include one for the Florida Attorney General seat, the Commissioner of Agriculture position, several seats on the Florida Supreme Court, and of course the gubernatorial race between Gov. Ron DeSantis and U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, who served as Florida's governor from 2007 to 2011. 

Every race on this year's ballot can be found on the sample ballot attached at the end of this article, though voters won't vote on every race listed in the sample. To see a customized sample ballot based on voting address, voters can enter their name and date of birth on the Miami-Dade County voter information page.

While it may be tempting to ignore the state and municipal races, these candidates are the people that will make the day-to-day decisions about what happens in Miami and the rest of South Florida.

Visit the county's elections calendar for a full list of election dates in Miami-Dade County.
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Joshua Ceballos is staff writer for Miami New Times. He is a Florida International University alum and a born-and-bred Miami boy.
Contact: Joshua Ceballos

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