Updated 5/31/22 at 2:05 p.m.
The August 23 primary elections are less than 85 days away. The Collier County Supervisor of Elections will send vote-by-mail ballots to Collier County voters who requested them beginning July 14, and early voting starts on August 13.
What will be on the ballot?
- U.S. Senate: 1 senator
- U.S. House: representatives for Districts 18, 19, and 26, based on the newly-drawn congressional district in which you live (map here)
- Florida Governor, Attorney General, Chief Financial Officer, and Commissioner of Agriculture (elected by all voters statewide)
- State Senate: 1 state senator (all Collier County voters live in the newly-drawn Senate District 28 – map here)
- State House: representatives for Districts 80, 81, and 82, based on the new state House district in which you live (map here)
- County Commission: representatives for Districts 2 and 4, based on the new county commission district in which you live (map here)
- School Board: representatives for Districts 1, 3, and 5 (elected by all voters county-wide)
Qualifying as a Candidate
Candidates must qualify to appear on the ballot by either collecting a certain number of voter signatures on petitions or by paying a fee.
Candidates who qualify and are unopposed will not appear on the ballot and will be considered elected at the General Election in November.
We will not know for certain which of the above offices will be on the ballot until June 17, the end of the candidate qualifying period.
In addition, there will be certain judicial offices on the ballot. Unlike the above positions, the qualifying period for the offices of state attorney, public defender, justices of the Supreme Court, and judges ended on April 29. So we already know which of them will be on the ballot.
Specifically, five incumbent State Supreme Court Justices and eight Second District Court of Appeals judges will be on the ballot for merit retention votes. One Collier County judgeship will also be on the ballot.
Unopposed incumbents who will be considered elected at the General Election are 20th Circuit State Attorney Amira Fox, 20th Circuit Public Defender Kathy Smith, and 20th Circuit Judges Shannon McFee, James Shenko, Nick Thompson, Ramiro Mañalich, Alane Laboda, James Sloan, Kyle Cohen, Lauren Brodie, Robert Branning, and Gilberto Perez.
In the Coming Months
Between now and mid-July, I will be researching and sharing what I learn about the candidates running to represent Collier County voters in the Florida Senate and House, County Commission, and School Board.
I will also write about the justices and judges seeking merit retention and the candidates for county judge, and provide links to help voters to do their own research on the other offices on the ballot.
First, though, I will be writing about the current political landscape of Collier County, and some more general things you should consider before you vote.
Things to Do Right Now
Here are a few things you should do right now:
Request a vote-by-mail (VBM) ballot if you will not be in town to vote in person or prefer the convenience of voting from home. You can do it online by answering a few questions and then printing out, signing, and mailing in a form. Or you can request a paper form to fill out from the Supervisor of Elections office by calling (239) 252-8683 or by emailing SupervisorofElections@colliergov.net.
The post office will not forward vote-by-mail ballots, even if you have arranged to have all your mail forwarded. You MUST give the Supervisor of Elections the address to which your ballot should be mailed.
The deadline for requesting a VBM ballot for the August elections is 5 p.m. on August 13.
Check the status of your VBM ballot if you have already requested one. Confirm it online or by phone at (239) 252-8683. For me, the Supervisor of Elections’s website shows:
Review your voter registration information and make any needed changes. Do it online or call the Supervisor of Elections office at (239) 252-8683. Make sure they have your current address and the party affiliation of the primary you want to vote in. (More on the importance of this to come.)
Consider updating your signature with the Supervisor of Elections if the signature they have on file might not match your current signature. I update mine every few years, just to avoid any possible problem. Do it online or call the Supervisor of Elections office at (239) 252-8683 and ask them to mail you a form.
Review your new voter information card to learn your new voting districts for U.S. Congress, State Senate, State House, County Commission, School Board, and Fire District. The Collier County Supervisor of Elections office began mailing new cards to registered active voters on May 25. The card will reflect your new voting districts resulting from the local and statewide redistricting that followed the 2020 census. It will also list your Election Day precinct and your polling location. You may also find that information on the Supervisor of Elections website here.
That’s it for now. I look forward to becoming a more informed voter and sharing what I learn. It’s in all of our best interests to participate in an informed way in the election process and to take full advantage of our right to vote.
After all, democracy is not a spectator sport.