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Did you vote early and your candidate of choice has since dropped out? In Florida, you’re out of luck

Voters can’t change their vote before March 17 primary

Photos via Getty Images.
Photos via Getty Images.

Super Tuesday has come and gone, and finally, the number of presidential candidates has dwindled down to just a handful -- at last check, that number was four on the Democratic side of the equation.

Many people in Florida opted in for early voting, possibly to skip the long lines on primary day or for a whole slew of other reasons.

But what are you supposed to do if you voted early for a candidate who has already dropped out -- before Florida’s primary on March 17?

While it would be nice to be able to change your vote, unfortunately, in the state of Florida, once you’ve voted early, that ballot is locked and cannot be changed.

According to Florida Statute 103.101, once a candidate is on the ballot and doesn’t submit a formal withdrawal by Dec. 9, 2019, that person’s name must remain on the ballot.

And anyone who votes for that person will have his or her vote count -- as in, a vote for that candidate.

A number of candidates have dropped out of the race, including Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg.

Translation? Florida residents who voted for those candidates in early voting or vote-by-mail ballots are stuck with them.

Many states follow this same rule, but there are a few places that will let you have a re-do if your candidate dropped out before the primary. Michigan is one of the states that will let you spoil your vote if your candidate is no longer running in the election.

Voters have until the day before the Michigan primary to bring their ballot to their local clerk’s office and change their vote. It’s a fairly simple process.

If you’re hoping to avoid this dilemma in the future, it’s a good idea to wait until after Super Tuesday to mail in your ballot.

As you can see from this primary alone, many candidates drop out right before or directly after the juggernaut primary day.


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