More than 40,000 voters in Leon County are not registered to vote with either the Democratic or Republican party. That means they can’t vote in the primary. Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Early visited the Leon County Detention Center to register voters behind bars.
He wants to make sure everyone has the opportunity to get registered or switch their party ID before the February 18 deadline.
Inmates can vote through a vote-by-mail ballot which will be mailed to the jail. Early says he doesn’t want people to conflate registering jail occupants with the constitutional amendment restoring voter rights to felons.
“We’ve asked the administrative personnel here to make sure to check their record and kind of screen out anyone that’s been convicted of a felony that may still have some obligation left. We believe that work has been done but we’ll also vet that ourselves” Early says.
Some inmates are awaiting trial and Early says they can still register because they’re innocent until proven guilty. The detention center has the infrastructure to assist voters who want to register.
“What we’ve done with our facilities has been making sure that anybody that needed to and wanted to had the opportunity to do that,” says Leon County Sherrif Office Public Information Officer Dave Teems.
Florida’s presidential primary is slated for March 17.