Elections in Florida

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Elections in Florida are held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November in even-numbered years, as provided for in Article 6 of the Florida Constitution.[1] For state elections, the Governor of Florida, Lieutenant Governor, and the members of the Florida Cabinet, and members of the Florida Senate are elected every four years; members of the Florida House of Representatives are elected every two years. In national elections, Florida plays an important role as the largest bellwether state, occasionally determining the outcome of elections for U.S. President — as it did in 1876 and in 2000.

Voter qualifications[edit]

All citizens of the United States, over the age of eighteen and who are permanent residents of the state, may register to vote as a qualified elector of Florida unless they are convicted of a felony or found to be mentally incompetent.

State elections[edit]

The Governor of Florida, Lieutenant Governor, and the members of the Florida Cabinet are elected every four years. Members of the Florida House of Representatives are elected every two years, while members of the Florida Senate are elected every four years.

Candidates for the Florida legislature may serve no more than 2 consecutive terms (8 years) as Senator, or 4 consecutive terms (8 years) as Representative.

Voters determine whether judges at the state level should be retained, at the end of their respective term. Since this law was enacted in 1974, no judge has ever been removed from office by failure of retention.[2]

Florida in national elections[edit]

Florida received international attention for its role in the 2000 presidential election, where George W. Bush led Al Gore by only a couple of hundred votes when the Supreme Court of the United States ended a recount. It had also played a role in the equally contested 1876 presidential election and is often seen as one of the key swing states in presidential elections.[3]

Florida held its 2008 presidential primary on January 29, 2008 after a bill was passed in May 2007 moving it sooner on the electoral calendar.[4] This move was in violation of party rules restricting primaries held before February 5 to Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. The Democratic Party eventually decided to strip Florida of all its 210 delegates at the Democrats' convention, while the Republicans stripped Florida of half its delegates to the GOP convention. A federal judge dismissed a suit from Democratic Senator Bill Nelson against the DNC and chairman Howard Dean to overturn this decision.[5]


In the first half of the 19th century, the right to vote was held only by white males aged 21 and over. After 1920, women were able to vote with the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. In 1937, the requirement to pay a poll tax was repealed by the state legislature, allowing poorer Floridians to vote, and in 1944 the United States Supreme Court invalidated a system of white-only primary elections.[6]

In 1966, Claude Kirk was elected the first Republican governor of Florida since Reconstruction.[7]

Election security[edit]

On August 8, 2018 Senator Bill Nelson told the Tampa Bay Times that Florida's voting system had been penetrated by Russian hacking efforts. Senator Nelson noted that the likely target of hacking efforts was voter rolls for the state.[8]

During DEF CON 26 in 2018, an 11-year-old reportedly hacked into a Florida state election website replica in just 10 minutes by taking advantage of expired SSL certificates. The participants of this event also discovered vulnerabilities of the state voting machines via the memory card and rendering a voter's ballot invalid.[9]

In May 2019, Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced Russians hacked voting databases in two Florida counties prior to the 2016 presidential election and no election results were compromised.[10][11][12]

Party affiliation[edit]

The following statistics show party affiliation of registered Florida voters:

  • In 1972, Democratic registered 69%, Republican 28%, and 3% other.
  • In 1992, Democratic registered 51%, Republicans 41%, and 8% other.
  • In 2013, Democrats registered 40%, Republicans 35%, and 25% other.[13]
  • In 2016, Democrats registered 38%, Republicans 36%, and 26% other.[14]
  • In 2018, Democrats registered 37%, Republicans 35%, and 28% other.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Florida Constitution
  2. ^ Muro, Chris (February 3, 2015). "Ruling could affect state's judicial selection". Florida Today. Melbourne, Florida. pp. 7A.
  3. ^ Parties struggle to control primaries
  4. ^ Early primary gives Florida a big say in '08 vote
  5. ^ Judge dismisses primary date lawsuit Miami Herald, December 6, 2007
  6. ^ A Brief History of Florida
  7. ^ Florida:Timeline Archived 2007-04-04 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Senator says Russia has 'penetrated' Florida election systems". Engadget. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  9. ^ "An 11-year-old hacked a replica of Florida's voting system in 10 minutes". Vox. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  10. ^ "Gov. DeSantis: Russians hacked voting databases in two Florida counties; The GOP governor said the incidents took place in 2016 and no election results were compromised". Associated Press. May 14, 2019. Retrieved 15 May 2019 – via nbcnews.com.
  11. ^ Brendan Farrington (May 14, 2019). "DeSantis: Russians accessed 2 Florida voting databases". apnews.com. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  12. ^ Miles Parks (May 14, 2019). "Florida Governor Says Russian Hackers Breached 2 Counties In 2016". NPR.org. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  13. ^ Dockery, Paula (October 19, 2013). "In the middle sits a silent majority". Florida Today. Melbourne, Florida. pp. 13A. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
  14. ^ "Voter Registration - Current by County - Division of Elections - Florida Department of State". dos.myflorida.com. Archived from the original on 2016-10-24. Retrieved 2016-10-27.

External links[edit]