Registered voters' inability to vote causes confusion


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – More than 3 million registered Florida voters were unable to vote in Tuesday's election because they weren't registered as a Democrat or a Republican.

Florida is one of about 20 states that has what is called a closed primary. It prevents minor party and no-party voters from casting a ballot in primary elections, and it led to some confusion in Tuesday's primary.

Most political scientists believe that open primaries lead to more middle-of-the-road candidates because candidates do not have to appeal solely to the liberal or conservative extremes in their respective party.

Donald Trump tweeted midday that he was being told that his name wasn't on some Florida ballots. The state investigated.

“We looked into it, and that was incorrect,” Sen. Ken Detzner said.

The secretary of state took the unusual step of issuing a news release to explain the law.

“They have been NPAs -- or no party affiliations -- and they may have expected they could vote. But the fact is, Florida law does not permit them to vote,” Detzner said.

The law kept Leon County elections supervisor Ion Sancho from voting in the primary election in which he ran on Tuesday. Voters there require his post to be nonpartisan.

Sancho said the ban on open primaries basically amounts to taxation without representation.

“Our elections are paid for by local property taxes," Sancho said. "(A total of) 3.2 million of the more than 12 million registered voters were not able to cast a ballot even though they pay property taxes.”

Florida law allows for an open primary when the only candidates running are from the same party, but a write-in provision has made that virtually meaningless.

Two bills that would have opened primary elections to all voters died in the Legislature this year. Neither got a hearing.