A recent Herald article dealt with the rise of the No Party Affiliation by voters in our state, and the reasons why so many people, especially young voters, are choosing this category. Some say they don't identify with a party, or don't feel informed enough to vote.
No one needs to be uninformed about voting, though it does take some effort on the voter's part. There is plenty of nonpartisan information available during the election season -- for example, the League of Women Voters' guides to candidates, information on the Supervisor of Elections (SOE) website (votemanatee.com), the many candidate forums held throughout the county and debates watchable on METV (metvweb.com).
To put it all together in one place, the LWV of Manatee County will provide a Voter Information Center on its website, lwvmanatee.org, with links to information available online.
Another misconception many NPA voters have is that if they affiliate with a party they cannot vote for someone of another party in the general election. This is not so; you can vote for any candidate on your general election ballot.
What choosing a party does is to allow you to vote in its primary elections. What happens if so many of Florida's voters do not vote in the primaries? The candidates chosen in the primary election may only reflect the views of those who did vote.
You can change your party affiliation up to 29 days before an election by updating your registration with the SOE office. After the election, you may change it back to NPA if you wish.
Voting is not a spectator sport, so don't watch it on the sidelines. Your vote is your right; it's your duty as a citizen; and it's your power to make change in a democracy.
Rosalie Shaffer, President, League of Women Voters of Manatee County