Duval County Sees Strong Turnout On First Day Of Early Voting

Oct 19, 2020

More than 19,000 early votes had already been cast in Duval County by 3 p.m. Monday – and that’s on top of the more than 77,000 who have already voted by mail.

At last check, 96,717 ballots had been cast, meaning  14.5% of registered voters have completed the process.

Registered voters can cast ballots at any early voting location, regardless of their home precinct. All that's required to vote is a driver's license.

Voters Monday morning at the Southeast Regional Branch Library were socially distanced and wearing masks in a line that stretched well into the parking area around 10:45 a.m.

Amber Mariea was among those waiting in line.

She said she decided not to wait because she thought Election Day lines might even be longer.

Early voters wait in line Monday at the Regency Branch of the Jacksonville Public Library.
Credit Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT News

“I just wanted to go ahead and kind of make sure it was counted. I don’t want any issues on Election Day,” she said, adding, “I feel like people are really – you know – into everything that’s going on right now, and this is the shortest line I expected.”

Related: Election 2020 News, Candidates, Precinct Finders And More

Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan said Monday he’d like to see as many people as possible vote early.

“It is, to me, the easiest time to vote,” Hogan said Monday on WJCT News' First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross.

Voters line up to cast their ballots Monday morning at the Southeast Regional Branch of the Jacksonville Public Library.
Credit Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

He said another big plus to early voting is it gives it gives the voters more safeguards in case they forget their identification or something else goes wrong.

"A lot of folks will come Downtown or go to their early voting site and not have their identification. On Election Day, that's horrible. You're going have to vote a provisional ballot. Early voting - you've got a chance to rectify that come back another day," Hogan said.

An early voting line also formed outside of the San Marco Branch of the Jacksonville Public Library Monday.
Credit Vicki Palombo / Special to WJCT News

Provisional ballots can be rejected if signatures don’t match up perfectly, potentially forcing a voter to submit a "cure affidavit" form to have his or her vote counted. More details about provisional ballots are on this FAQ page.

Hogan said his staff saw long lines Monday at some early voting locations, as people started to line up around 5:30 a.m., ahead of their opening at 7 a.m.

The elections supervisor also pointed out that people can avoid lines by filling out mail-in ballots and dropping them off at early voting locations, where drop boxes have been set up.

Mail-in ballots are being mailed out to registered Duval voters who request. The last day to request a mail-in ballot is Saturday, Oct. 24. 

Early voters come and go Monday at the Regency Branch of the Jacksonville Public Library.
Credit Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT News

Voters can also speed up their time at an early voting location by pre-filling their sample ballot, so they'll have a quick reference list in the voting booth. Sample ballots were mailed out earlier and are also available online.

Monday, Oct. 19, is the first day of early voting in Duval, Nassau, Clay and St. Johns counties.

The early, in-person voting will continue until Oct. 31 in Clay and St. Johns and through Nov. 1 in Duval and Nassau.

In Baker County, early voting will begin on Tuesday, Oct. 20, and run through Oct. 31.

Voters line up to cast their ballots Monday morning at the Southeast Regional Branch of the Jacksonville Public Library.

Details on when and where residents can vote early can be found on each county’s Supervisor of Elections website:

Election Day is on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

To hear the entire interview with Duval Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan listen to Monday’s First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross. The show also encores at 8 p.m. on WJCT News 89.9.

Early voters wait in line Monday at the Regency Branch of the Jacksonville Public Library.
Credit Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT News

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.