A Charlotte County guide to primary voting

■ BY SUE ERWINVote

As of Tuesday, Aug. 16, there were 125,715 active registered voters in Charlotte County, of which 55,163 were Republicans. There were 35,798 Democrats, and 34,754 people registered with no party affiliation, according to the Charlotte County Supervisor of Election’s website.

Because of Florida’s closed primary system, voters must be registered in the party they’re planning to vote in. That means you must be registered as a Republican to vote for the Republican candidate, or you must be registered as a Democrat to vote for the Democratic candidate.

In the August 30 primary election, voters registered with one of Florida’s political parties will vote for their preference for the candidates they would like to see representing their party on the general election ballot in November.

People registered with no party affiliation cannot vote in those races in the August 30 primary.

All voters, regardless of party affiliation, may vote in nonpartisan races on the ballot (such as hospital board, school board and Supervisor of Elections referendums) and proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 4. Florida does allow open primaries that anyone can vote in, if all the candidates are from the same party.

As of Tuesday, Aug 16, there were 9,497 ballots cast by mail: 5,017 Republican, 3,081 Democrat and 1,388 others. So far, 510 early vote ballots have been counted: 329 Republican, 131 Democrat and 50 others. Early voting is available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. through August 28. Vote-by-mail ballots were mailed on Aug. 2. Voters have until August 26 to mail in their completed ballots. There is still time to request a vote-by-mail ballot for the August 30 primary election.

For more information, call (941) 743-1387 or visit charlottevotes.com.