Your Guide to the Midterm Election in South Florida This November

Everything you need to know to make sure your vote counts in 2022.

The midterm elections are right around the corner, and it’s important to take a few minutes to look into what’s on the ballot and how to be sure you get your vote in so your voice is heard. While this particular election doesn’t have any citizen initiatives on the ballot, every office is up for election and by voting you have a say in who will be making decisions that could directly affect you in the coming years.

Did you know that in the 2018 governor’s race, current Governor Ron DeSantis defeated candidate Andrew Gillum by 32,468 votes? That may seem like a big number, but it breaks down to just .4% — that’s such a close race and proof that every vote truly makes a difference. South Florida and young voters are the two groups that turn out with lower voting rates than anyone else in the state and in 2018 only 63% of registered voters actually voted.

These midterm elections are super important as they will decide the balance of power in a split U.S. House and Senate. November’s election could lead to a new governor or new members of the Florida Cabinet, as well as new county commissioners or school board members—all really important positions of power that you should have a say in.

What’s on the ballot?

This November, in Florida we’re voting for Governor, U.S. Senator, Congressional races, and more. Every single seat for the Florida House, Florida Senate, and U.S. House are on this ballot. Due to a 2020 U.S. Census, the districts have been redrawn which means it’s time to vote within these new breakdowns.

Also, thanks to a term limit law that was voted into place back in 2012 regarding the Miami-Dade County Commission, very few current elected commissioners are eligible to run again, which means it’s time to elect a whole lot of new leadership county commission. These are the officials that will be in charge of local housing policy, county policing, climate adaptation, local infrastructure, and a $10 billion county budget.

On the ballot:

  • Governor: Rep. Charlie Crist (D); Incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)
  • Attorney General: Aramis Ayala (D); Incumbent Ashley Moody (R)
  • U.S. Senate: Rep. Val Demings (D); Incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio (R)
  • U.S. House: all 28 seats; Florida gained a seat in the House, as determined by population growth in the 2020 census.
  • State Senate: all 40 seats
  • State House: all 120 seats

Aside from voting for who will sit in our government offices, there are just a few constitutional amendments on the ballot this November. A big change from previous elections, none of these are citizen initiatives, but instead three amendments were placed on the ballot by the Florida Legislature. Two of them deal with taxes and the third one involves abolishing a commission that reviews the constitution. In order for these amendments to pass the ballot, they must get 60% approval from the voters.

Amendment 1:

Exempts improvements against flood damage from property assessments. This refers to when you make major changes to your home, those changes may affect the assessed value of your property—either to go up or down. Currently there are provisions in Florida’s constitution that allows the legislature to exempt wind damage property changes, or solar or renewable energy devices, from property assessments. Amendment one would allow for the same exemption for changes that protect property from flood damage.

A “YES” vote for this amendment allows the Florida Legislature to pass laws that would exempt flood resistance improvements from being considered in property value assessments. It takes effect Jan. 1, 2023.

A “NO” vote would mean nothing changes and the Florida Legislature cannot pass laws to exempt flood resistance improvements.

Amendment 2:

This amendment would get rid of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission. So, here’s the deal. Every 20 years, the Florida Constitution Revision Commission has a meeting to propose provisions to revise all or part of the state’s constitution. It’s one of five ways the Florida Constitution can be changed (other ways are via state legislature, citizen initiative, a constitutional convention, and via the taxation and budget reform commission) and this amendment would remove that commission. In recent years, this particular group has been known to limit many citizen initiatives—which has put them under much fire.

A “YES” vote on this amendment eliminates the constitution revision commission, leaving four ways to amend the Florida Constitution.

A “NO” vote on this amendment leaves the FL CRC in place.

Amendment 3:

This amendment aims to provide an extra property tax exemption for public service workers. It would create a homestead exemption for many public service employees, including teachers, law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, child welfare services professionals, and active duty members of the military and national guard. If passed, these homeowners would get an extra $50,000 exemption on property valued between $100,000 and $150,000.

A “YES” vote on Amendment 3 means you approve giving public service employees an extra exemption on property taxes.

A “NO” vote on Amendment 3 means you do not approve giving public service employees an extra exemption on property taxes.

Check out a sample ballot here.

What’s the deadline to register to vote in South Florida?

You must be registered to vote 29 days before an election in the state of Florida—which means the deadline to register for this round of midterm elections is October 11th. Check the Florida voter information portal to see if you’re already registered.

How to register to vote in South Florida:

Registering to vote in South Florida is easy and can be done one of three ways:

Online: The easiest way to register is via the state’s voter registration portal—you can also check your registration status or change your party affiliation. All you need is a Florida driver’s license or state-issued ID card; the issued date of your license or ID; and the last four digits of your Social Security number.

By mail: Print out a voter registration form, complete it, and mail it to your county supervisor of elections.

In person: Go to your county supervisor of elections office to pick up, drop off, or fill out a registration form. Forms are also available at public libraries.

Can I vote early?

Yes, you can! For this election polling locations will be open for early voting from October 24, 2022 through November 6, 2022 from 7 am to 7 pm. You can also check to see how long the wait times are at various locations here.

Can I vote by mail?

Can’t make it to your polling place? Then you can vote by mail or via absentee ballot. Any registered voter can request this type of ballot for November’s midterm election. Keep in mind that your vote-by-mail requests must be received by Oct. 29 at 5 pm. You can request this ballot by emailing, calling, or visiting the county’s supervisor of elections.

You’re going to need your full name, address, date of birth, and a copy of a valid form of ID like a driver’s license or state-issued ID card—or the last four digits of your Social Security number.

How to find your polling place:

While you don’t need your voter’s registration card to vote, it is the easiest way to find your polling place as it’s printed right on the card. If you don’t have your card handy, you can find your polling place (along with your sample ballot and status of your voting registration) here—all you need is your name and birthdate.

How to find ballot drop boxes:

Need to drop off your ballot? Find a drop box near you here.

How to volunteer as a poll worker:

If you’re interested in working at a polling place during this election, it’s easy to apply and you’ll be trained on what exactly you’ll need to know while doing it. Apply here and check out what’s needed from you and what the process looks like. Fortunately, once you're active in the volunteer system, you won’t have to register to do it for future elections, you’ll just need to let them know you’re available. Oh, and, you’ll get paid a small stipend.

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Amber Love Bond is a contributor for Thrillist.