Florida’s Presidential Preference Primary is just around the corner on Tuesday, March 17 and our office wants to ensure everyone is ready. We’ve got great registration numbers with just a little over 8,000 registered voters.

We are mailing out just under 1,400 vote-by-mail ballots and getting new requests each week. All signs point towards a great turnout in this first election of the year.

For anyone not yet registered to vote, or wanting to make a party change before the Presidential Preference Primary, the books close on Tuesday, Feb. 18.

If you’re registered to vote and need to make an address change, whether from moving in from a different Florida county or within the county, the book closing date does not apply. Address changes can be made by coming into the office and updating your registration, or visiting our website at www.votefranklin.com.

Florida is a closed primary election state which means only voters who are registered members of political parties may vote in contests for their party’s candidate. Only registered Democrats and Republicans will be eligible to vote in the Presidential Preference Primary.

Casting a ballot can be done one of three ways here in Franklin County: by requesting a vote-by-mail ballot, early voting, or Election Day voting at your polling location.

Our office has been busy preparing candidate handbooks, creating training materials for our election worker training that is required before each election. We have been doing updates and testing of our voting equipment, and preparing our vote-by-mail ballots to be mailed out. It’s a busy and exciting time in the election’s office.

Election security continues to be forefront in all that we do. We have partnered with the state Division of Elections, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, along with securing a top rated information technology company with experience in the election world to oversee the managing of our cybersecurity and training needs. We are committed to providing safe, secure and transparent elections for the voters of Franklin County.

Early voting dates for the March 17 primary are 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, from Monday, March 2 to Saturday, March 14, at the Supervisor of Elections Office, 47 Ave F, Apalachicola, and the Courthouse Annex, 912 NW Ave. A, Carrabelle.

You may request a vote-by-mail ballot by calling our office at 653-9520, or logging into our website at www.votefranklin.com

Heather Crum Riley is Franklin County’s supervision of elections.