Local officials urge voter registration in largest swing state

Your Local Election Headquarters

WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day.
And in a swing state like Florida, voters can play a large role in the national election.

“Florida is the largest swing state so it’s a highly sought-after state by Federal candidates or presidential candidates,” said Bobby Beasley, Walton County supervisor of elections.

In previous years, we’ve seen presidential elections hinged on hundreds of votes and close margins, in some cases calling for recounts. For example, the 2000 election, which was prematurely and incorrectly called, issued a recount of Florida’s votes due to a margin of around 300 votes.

And more recently, during the 2016 election, while Hilary Clinton won the popular vote, Donald Trump won the electoral college to take the presidency.

“Florida is a winner take all state, they call it,” Beasley said. This means that all of Florida’s 31 electoral college votes go to the winner of the majority of the statewide vote, he said.

“California’s the largest state in the Union, Texas is second,” Beasley said. “Florida’s third.”

Beasley said that Florida’s registered voters a pretty evenly split between party affiliations, with those register with no party affiliation being the ones that swing the state.

“You never know how much one vote or a few votes matters until we tally the votes,” Beasley said. “There have been cases where that has been ties in elections. Each candidate had an equal number of votes.”

Furthermore, this election season is looking a little different than previous years due to the ongoing pandemic.

“There’s no reason a person, even with this virus, shouldn’t vote because you don’t have to leave your home to vote,” Beasley said.

He said that you can register online, vote early or call in to get a mail-in ballot. And for those voting in person, he added that there will be efforts to make it as safe as possible for voters.

“A lot of voters bring their [premarked] sample ballot,” Beasley said, which expedites the process and decreases the amount of time spent around others.

“We have hand sanitizer that’s automatically dispensed,” he added. “We ask that people bring their own pens or we will furnish you one.”

He said that they will also be leaving the doors open and cleaning polling places regularly.

Find you county’s voter information below:

Walton County

www.votewalton.com

DeFuniak Springs office: (850) 892-8112 

Santa Rosa Beach office: (850) 622-0744

Bay County

www.bayvotes.org

Phone: (850) 784-6100

Jackson County

www.jacksoncountysoe.org

Phone: (850) 482-9652 

Gulf County

www.votegulf.com

Phone: (850) 229-6117

Liberty County

www.libertyelections.com

Phone: (850) 643-5226

Holmes County

www.holmeselections.com

Phone: (850) 547-1107

Washington County

www.wcsoe.org

Phone: (850) 638-6230

Franklin County

www.votefranklin.com

Phone: (850) 653-9520 

Calhoun County

www.votecalhoun.com

Phone: (850) 674-8568

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