Duval Elections Supervisor hopeful Jaguars partnership will spur voter turnout
When Mike Hogan, Duval County’s Supervisor of Elections, looked around the East Club at TIAA Bank Field on Thursday night he was pleasantly surprised.
Hogan did not believe so many people would attend the Duval County Supervisor of Elections Polling Precinct Managers Summit. His office typically holds sessions refreshing protocols ahead of every election, but those meetings are dispersed throughout the county and attended by a few dozen at a time.
Thursday, more than 300 poll workers filed into the stadium in preparation for November’s midterm election. That was possible because of an emerging partnership between the Jaguars and the Supervisor of Elections Office.
Poll workers had a chance to share their perspective with Hogan’s office, while the Supervisor of Elections staff was able to train its workers. Hogan, who turns 73 next week, says it is important that his office recruits poll workers.
“My generation and a little older and a little younger, they always were involved in community organizations and civics in their community and wanted to do something to help the community,” Hogan says. “We think that's one of the things that the Jaguars can help us with, because they're going to reach all the way down through those millennials. It is a very important piece of work.”
The Jaguars kicked off their “Get In The Game” campaign prior to the 2020 election. At that time, TIAA Bank Field served as a ballot drop-off location. This year, the franchise is taking its efforts further by providing registration information as well as nonpartisan voting resources like Ballotpedia and the League of Women Voters.
Jaguars Vice President of Social Responsibility and Impact T-Neisha Tate says the campaign began with its home opener and will continue through election day on Nov. 8. Thursday’s poll workers summit was part of this year’s work to encourage more people to participate in the political process.
“Our goal is to reach them where they are,” Tate says. “So, when we start looking at the barriers to why people don’t engage in certain things, mostly it's because people are not meeting them where they are.
“So, if they are on our platform, if they're on our Twitter, if they're on jaguars.com, we're going to give them all the information and, hopefully, them just seeing how important voting is to us as organization, our locker room, our coaching staff – that will be a little bit of an incentive. But we'll know if it worked on November 9.”
Two years ago, 74.65% of Duval County’s electorate voted. In the 2018 election, headlined by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ narrow win over former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, 62.87% of the Duval electorate participated – the highest percentage in a gubernatorial election in the last 30 years.
Hogan is hopeful the partnership with the Jaguars will help push this fall’s turnout above 65%.
“It’s going to turn out the voters because they're glued to the Jaguars,” Hogan says. “So, anything that the Jaguars are doing, everybody wants to do. That's great for us. We've actually been trying to enter into this partnership for several years. But, now the NFL has really grabbed hold of this. And we're excited about being here and having them as our partner.”