Duval County voters hoping to get an advance look at their ballots might be going into the booth blind this week after the Elections Supervisor’s Office failed to mail out sample ballots on time.
Supervisor Mike Hogan told our partners News4Jax Monday the ballots were delayed because of the hurricane.
But Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, said that the delay had “nothing to do with the hurricane” and that Hogan “should own up to the mistake.”
Gibson said she texted Hogan Sunday after constituents asked why they hadn’t received their sample ballots.
“The conversation between the supervisor and maybe some staff… that maybe there was a misunderstanding as it relates to a question posed as to when the sample ballots would drop, quote unquote, which is to go in the mail,” she said.
Gibson said the ballots were just never mailed when they were supposed to be, weeks before Early Voting started.
Hogan’s office never announced the delay, she said, and only mentioned the ballots’ not being mailed after residents inquired.
Gibson said sample ballots aren't legally required to be mailed, but they’ve been a tradition in Duval County for some time. People rely on them to make informed decisions, she said, especially if they don’t have Internet access.
“It gives people an opportunity to have… or at least if they want to do some additional research ahead of time, they see who’s on their ballot because before it’s election time, people aren't really paying that much attention,” she said.
Hogan did not immediately return an interview request. Hogan’s assistant Julie White refuted Gibson’s claims, calling them absolutely false.
Sample ballots should arrive in homes as early as this weekend. They are also available on the supervisor’s website.