Ready for the November election? What to know to before voting

‘An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people’ - Thomas Jefferson

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Voting by mail in the Nov. 8 midterm election is underway and early voting will begin the week of Oct. 24. (We’ll let you know the locations and times in your county as that date gets closer.)

With the goal of not letting anyone go to the voting booth and be surprised by anything they see, has prepared and published election guides for the last 20 years.

We put the Thomas Jefferson quote just below the headline of this story (and at the top of this year’s Voter’s Guide) because we believe it’s our responsibility to let you know about the men and women running for public office and the issues you’re asked to vote on.

We’ll be electing a governor, a U.S. senator, a congressperson and state legislators. Some of those candidates you may have read about or seen on TV. You may be less familiar with candidates for other state offices, and a few local -- sometimes hyper-local -- candidates that you’ve probably never heard of.

Our comprehensive Voter’s Guide provides information about hundreds of candidates and dozens of ballot issues facing voters in the 11 Florida counties in our viewing area.

It sounds daunting when you look at the big picture, but most ballots will contain fewer than a dozen contests so you only have to pay attention to the races and issues important to you.

Our guide begins with interactive maps to help you find your congressional, state Senate and state House districts, and we break down the rest of the races by county. We hope you take a few minutes to learn something about the candidates’ backgrounds and their views on the issues. Plus, learn about the amendments and any ballot initiatives for your county or city.

2022 Florida election calendar

Oct. 11Last day to register or change address, party or other voter information
Oct. 24-29Early voting begins (varies by county)
Oct. 29Deadline for vote-by-mail requests to be received
Nov. 5-6Early voting ends (varies by county)
Nov. 8Election Day. All neighborhood precincts open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Deadline for mail ballots to be received.

Why vote?

Coming off the November 2020 election with the largest voter turnout in history (71.7% in Florida), Duval County’s supervisor of elections projects that just over half of registered voters will cast a ballot this year. Simple math shows that if nearly half of voters stay home, every vote cast makes a bigger difference in the outcome of an election.

In addition to choosing federal and state officials, Jacksonville voters will pick a new sheriff and two Jacksonville city council members will be on the ballot in parts of the city. Our beaches’ cities each have races on the ballot. Citizens of other Northeast Florida counties are choosing commissioners, school board members and elected members of various authorities and boards.

And while Duval County voters voted to approve our school tax in the August primary, Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Flagler, Nassau and Putnam counties have various school funding proposals on their ballots in November. Plus there are other referendums, proposed amendments and charter changes that are on various ballots across our region. They’re all spelled out in our Voter’s Guide, hopefully in clearer language and in more detail than you’ll see on the ballot.

Do the citizens of your country/state/county a favor by spending a little time preparing to vote. Look up your election status, look up your county’s election office to get a sample ballot and/or find your precinct. Do your own research into the candidates or spend some time looking over the races in your area in our Voter’s Guide, where you can read what most candidates have to say about the issues.

For the 20% of candidates who didn’t respond to our questionnaire, we’ve tried to provide a link to their website or social media so you can learn something about them. (And to the candidates who never submitted their answers, there’s still time! Search your inbox for an email for and/or check your voicemail.)

However you prepare, please vote. Despite what you’ve heard about tighter rules, registered voters can request a ballot by mail, vote in person during at least eight days of early voting in every Florida county, or at your neighborhood precinct on Nov. 8.

We’ve tried to make it as easy as possible to get informed so you don’t have to fill in that ballot bubble based only on a negative TV ad you saw, a friend’s recommendation or whoever’s name sounds best. Is that any way to pick our leaders?

As Tom Jefferson also said, “ at elections is one of the most important rights.” Make your voice matter and your vote count.

About the Author:

Digital election producer in 2022. He created in 1995 and managed The Local Station's website through 2021.