by Brian Kirsch
The Republican Party of Florida has set a primary date that was sure to throw most of the primary cycle into disarray. The primary, which was not supposed to be held before March 6, is now scheduled to be held on January 31, which means that three contests will be scheduled before that. The Iowa Caucuses are scheduled to take place on January 3rd, and the first national primary is scheduled to take place on January 10, in New Hampshire. On January 21, the people of South Carolina are scheduled to cast their ballots in the Republican Primary for President.
For the people of Florida, this will mean that you will have a much more important say in the primary process. Florida, which is considered by many to be crucial for someone trying to win the White House, decided to move their primary date up to January.
For the students of the University of Central Florida, you should feel honored that you will be able to play such a crucial role in who goes face to face with President Obama.
However, since the primary is scheduled to be the fourth of the season, we might see a different field as opposed to who is running today. Since the primary schedule has been moved up an entire month, it is unlikely we will see any shocking changes to the rest of the lineup.
Right now, the field of candidates is set at eight; however, the top tier seems to be occupied by two or three candidates, and is described by analysts as being quite fluid. While there are lower tier candidates, they do not have much money or campaign organization.
The three candidates that seem to be sticking around the top are Governor Rick Perry of Texas, former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza Herman Cain, and Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Cain seems to be the favorite of the more conservative Tea Party wing of the party, while Romney enjoys the support of the establishment.
The Primary which will have 50 delegates awarded to the convention in Tampa, will serve as the chopping block of most of the second tier candidates, if they even make it that far.
What you need to know:
To be eligible to vote in the state of Florida for a primary, you must be registered 29 days before the upcoming election and be registered to vote with that particular party. For example, if you were are registered as a Democrat, 28 days before the election, you will not be able to vote in the primary. If you are UCF student who wishes to vote in the primary in person, you must send in a new registration with your school address. For those of you who wish to remain registered at home, you can request an absentee ballot up to six days before the election. The official deadline will be Friday, January 20.
If you do wish to register in Orange County, it is good to know that for the 2012 midterm elections, 628,784 people were registered to vote in the county, according to the Orange County Supervisor of Elections. Of those registered in the county, about 123,000 were registered to vote as Republicans, and 275,000 were registered as Democrats.
For those of you in Seminole County, stats about their recent elections were not immediately available on their website.
While at times voting may seem redundant, or even worthless, we all need to remember as citizens of Florida, and the United States, we are given the right to go to the ballot box every couple of years and choose who will be representing us. Remember that even though you might not think that your vote counts, it always does.