ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Ahead of the upcoming primary election this August, a voter information mailer went to Orange County residents, containing details some candidates claim to be misinformation.

What You Need To Know

  • The primary election is on Aug. 23, 2022

  • Non-Partisan Affiliate (NPA) voters, who are independent, do have races to vote in

  • Those who wish to cast a ballot in a party’s race must be registered with that party

  • Registration and any party affiliation changes must happen by the July 25 deadline

While Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles said there was no misinformation in the letter his office sent, he did put out a message on Tuesday to clarify some details.

Confusion comes, according to candidates like Chris Messina, in the stated requirement that a voter must register with a party in order to participate in the primary election. Demensio Barton is the other candidate who echoes Messina's concerns. 

Barton is running for the Orange County School Board chair position, while Messina is running as an Orange County mayoral candidate.

In a recent News 13 podcast episode of “Central Florida Beyond the Soundbite,” Cowles clarified, “almost everything at the county level is no party affiliation.”

It means that, in order to vote in a major political party’s primary, the voter must be registered with that party.

However, there are a number of nonpartisan races that NPA voters can cast ballots in, come Aug. 23.

“So the message is, there’s a ballot for everybody,” Cowles said. “It’s just that if you’re not a member of the two major political parties who are having primaries, then you can’t vote on their candidates unless you are currently registered in that party affiliation.”

Cowles also released a statement in response to Barton's comments, explaining the issue as he did in the podcast. 

Both Messina and Barton will be holding a joint press conference about the issue on Wednesday morning at the front parking lot of the Supervisor of Elections office at 119 West Kaley St. in Orlando.