By Barbara Ann Kelley,

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – Florida Republican voters will flock to the polls today to choose their party’s candidates hoping to challenge President Barack Obama in the November general election.

Polls in the Bay Area are open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Why can only Republicans vote in today’s Republican Presidential Preference Primary?  Because Florida is a closed primary state. The winner of this Republican primary will receive all of the states delegates for the party’s August national convention being held in Tampa.

There are only four active candidates voters can choose from even though the names of Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman and Gary Johnson will appear on the ballot. The active candidates are: Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum.

There are municipal elections in Kenneth City, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Clearwater and St. Pete Beach. There is a referendum only in Temple Terrace. Any registered voter of any party living in those communities may vote in today’s election on those items.

State law requires voters vote in the city or precinct in which they live in. If an individual as moved, they are required to vote in their new city or precinct.

Some polling places may have changed from previous years. Voters are encourages to confirm their polling places by visiting their county Supervisor of Elections office.

Voters are encouraged bring a photo and signature identification with them to vote to avoid delays and extra paperwork. Parties without a valid and current photo and signature ID can vote on a provisional ballot which is what today’s voting is all about.

Voters using a Vote By Mail/Absentee Ballot must return their ballot to their county Supervisor of Elections office. Mail ballots can not be accepted at local polling locations.

For more information on voting in Florida, visit the Division of Elections website with this link.


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