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Duval Votes: Technical Issue At Eastside Polling Place May Have Discouraged Voters

Outside of the Duval County Supervisor of Elections Office on Jacksonville's Northside.
Sky Lebron
/
WJCT News
Outside of the Duval County Supervisor of Elections Office on Jacksonville's Northside.

A voting machine at the Robert F. Kennedy Community Center polling location on Jacksonville’s Eastside was temporarily down on Tuesday morning, and while the problem was quickly fixed, some residents may not have cast their vote because of it.

When there are technical issues, ballots can be put into an emergency compartment to be fed through a voting machine later. But Eastside resident Yatreka Bryant-Smith said poll workers didn’t communicate that before she and other voters left the polling place.

“We didn’t get any instructions on what to do next, whether to stay, whether to come back or whether they were going to try to shift us and go somewhere else. So we ended up leaving, and there were other people leaving as well,” said Bryant-Smith, who voted early and was helping her elderly neighbor vote.

Bryant-Smith brought her neighbor back to the Kennedy Center to cast her vote after she saw on social media that the problem had been fixed. It wasn't until then that she learned about the emergency compartment from a lawyer who commented on a Facebook thread about the voting machine issue.

“It should not have been on social media to tell me that. The workers should have said that (earlier), and I’m concerned about how many other people got discouraged, did not go back, had no other recourse of getting back to the polls,” she said.

WJCT News reached out to the Duval County Supervisor of Elections Office for comment but did not hear back by this story’s deadline.

Brendan Rivers can be reached at brivers@wjct.org, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.