Florida voters will head to the polls Tuesday to cast votes for federal and state offices. In addition to the presidential race, the ballot also features a U.S. Senate race, a Congressional race in each of the state’s 27 districts, and state legislative races.
Here’s what you need to know as you head to the polls:
POLLING HOURS & LOCATIONS: The polls open at 7:00 a.m. local time on Election Day, November 8, 2016, and shall be kept open until 7:00 p.m. local time. Please be aware that while Florida polls close at 7 p.m., Florida has two time zones. Voting will not be completed statewide until 7 p.m. Central. Any voter who is in line at the time of the official closing of the polls shall be allowed to cast a vote in the election. If you’re unsure at which precinct you’ll be voting, you can find out through the voter registration lookup tool on the Florida Division of Elections website.
REGISTRATION GUIDELINES: The voter registration deadline in Florida was extended to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 18, 2016, postmarked. Florida does not have same day registration. If you’re unsure whether you’re already registered, you can check your status via the state’s registration lookup tool.
TRACKING RESULTS: There are a number of ways to track results. The Florida Department of State will post results on its website. Politico will also post state-by-state results online, you can find Florida’s results here. WTVT, Tampa’s FOX affiliate will also track statewide results on their website. In the Tampa area, Bay News 9 will have election coverage beginning at 7 a.m. until all results are in.
WHAT’S AT STAKE IN FEDERAL RACES:
In the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s general election, statewide polls show Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump increasingly tight in the race to capture Florida. Florida’s 29 electoral votes are critical for Trump’s path to the presidency. Florida voted for President Obama in both 2008 and 2012, when the president won the state by 0.9 percentage points.
All 27 of the state’s U.S. representatives are up for re-election. Florida has 27 members in the House of Representatives, 10 Democrats and 17 Republicans. Every House seat is up for election every two years. Click here for a list of House districts.
- In the first district, Democratic Air Force veteran Steven Specht is running against Republican Florida House of Rep. Matt Gaetz.
- In the second district, Panama City surgeon and Republican businessman Neal Dunn is running against Democratic attorney and former assistant attorney general Walter Dartland.
- In the third district, Democratic businessman Ken McGurn is challenging Republican Rep. Ted Yoho.
- In the fourth district, environmental engineering consultant Dave Bruderly (D) is running against former Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford (R).
- In the fifth district, former Democratic member of the Florida Senate Al Lawson is running against Republican businesswoman Glo Smith.
- In the sixth district, Democratic businessman Bill McCullough is challenging Republican Rep. Ron Desantis.
- In the seventh district, Democratic business professor and former Department of Defense analyst Stephanie Murphy is challenging Republican Rep. John Mica.
- In the eighth district, Democratic environmentalist and former federal policy director for Oceana Corry Westbrook is challenging Republican Rep. Bill Posey.
- In the ninth district, Republican businessman Wayne Liebnitzky is running against Democratic Florida Senator Darren Soto.
- In the tenth district, Republican retired businesswoman Thuy Lowe is running against former Orlando Police Chief and Democratic nominee Val Demings.
- In the eleventh district, Democratic businessman Dave Koller is running against Republican Congressman Daniel Webster.
- In the twelfth district, Democratic attorney Robert Tager is challenging Republican Rep. Gus Bilirakis.
- In the thirteenth district, former Florida governor Charlie Crist (D) is challenging Republican Rep. David Jolly.
- In the fourteenth district, Republican political newcomer Christine Quinn is challenging Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor.
- In the fifteenth district, Democratic businessman Jim Lange is challenging Republican Rep. Dennis Ross.
- In the sixteenth district, Democratic attorney Jan Schneider is challenging Democratic Rep. Vernon Buchanan.
- In the seventeenth district, Democratic businesswoman April Freeman is challenging Republican Rep. Tom Rooney.
- In the eighteenth district, Democratic businessman Randy Perkins is running against former United States Army soldier Brian Mast (R).
- In the nineteenth district, Democratic accountant Robert Neeld is running against Republican businessman Francis Rooney.
- In the twentieth district, Republican real estate agent Gary Stein is challenging Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings.
- In the twenty-first district, Republican financial advisor Paul Spain and W Michael Trout (NPA) are challenging Democratic Rep. Lois Frankel.
- In the twenty-second district, Republican real estate agent Andrea Leigh McGee is challenging Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch.
- In the twenty-third district, Republican Joe Kaufman is challenging Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
- In the twenty-fifth district, Democrat Dr. Alina Valdes is challenging Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart.
- In the twenty-sixth district, former Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia is challenging Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo.
- In the twenty-seventh district, Democratic businessman Scott Fuhrman is challenging Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
WHAT’S AT STAKE IN STATE RACES: The next Florida governor’s race isn’t until 2018, however each state senator and state representative is up for re-election. The Republicans have controlled the governor’s mansion since 1998 when Jeb Bush took office. Following Bush, Charlie Crist served as governor. Currently, Rick Scott is the governor who began his term first term in 2011. Republicans hold large majorities in both houses of the legislature: 26 of 40 seats in the Senate and 81 of 120 seats in the House.
State Senate seats are usually up for election in staggered terms with half the seats being up for election during a presidential election year and the other half being up for election during a midterm election in which Florida chooses a governor. However, any time the districts are redrawn, every seat must be decided by a new election.
Since the boundaries of Florida’s state legislative districts were redrawn, every single state Senate seat will be up for election in 2016.