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Be prepared for the primary: Know your candidates

Florida voters will face a lot of choices in the Sept. 5 primary election. Early voting began Monday.

By Times Staff
Published August 23, 2006

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For the first time in two decades, Floridians will go to the polls to elect a governor this year without having an incumbent among their choices. The retirement of Gov. Jeb Bush, required by state term limits, has made for a wide open race.

In a midterm election without the firepower of a presidential race, the run for governor has been the marquee event this season.

The anxiety over Florida's voting machinery, which caused such deep heartache in 2000, has largely subsided.

We have prepared this Know Your Candidates section to help voters with their choices in the primary election Sept. 5.

It includes stories about each race and short biographies of the candidates, as well as descriptions of the offices they are seeking.

Information about polling places and sample ballots is included.

We have chosen to publish this year's Know Your Candidates section earlier than we have in years past because of the advent of early voting. In Florida, voters are now able to cast ballots over 15 days leading up to election day at the main and branch offices of the county Supervisor of Elections Office. Other locations may be designated for early voting by local officials. This year, early voting in the primary race began on Monday.

Under Florida's primary system, only registered voters who belong to a political party may vote in that party's primary, with one exception. If all the candidates for an office are from one party and there will be no general election, all voters are eligible to cast a ballot in that race.

Nonpartisan races, such as judicial seats and some other races, are open to all voters.

Florida no longer has an October runoff election. That means a candidate in a partisan primary who gets the most votes wins the nomination, even if he or she fails to get more than 50 percent of the vote.

The deadline to register to vote in the primary was Aug. 7. If you were not registered by then, you cannot vote Sept. 5. But you have until Oct. 10 to register to vote in the November general election.

[Last modified August 22, 2006, 17:44:01]

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