Early voting is officially underway in Duval County in this month’s primary elections, and voter turnout is expected to be on the rise.
Early voting for the Aug. 28 Florida primary began on Monday at 18 sites throughout Duval County. Historically, primaries don’t attract a big turnout here, but Duval Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan says he’s expecting more voters to show up at the polls this year.
“Primaries are typically not well attended. The last one in this cycle I think was about 25 percent. We’re hoping for about a 30 percent turnout,” he said.
The Duval County Supervisor of Elections website shows that the county currently has 240,735 registered Democrats, 218,032 registered Republicans, and 133,578 registered independents or unaffiliated voters. And according to Hogan, “The fastest growing group has been the independents and the non-party affiliation folks.”
Hogan thinks that the national news cycle will probably have a significant impact on voter turnout this year, but he thinks the bigger driver will be the sheer number of races on the ballot. A lot of those races are nonpartisan or unitary, which, according to Hogan, should help bring independent and unaffiliated voters out to the polls in a state with closed primaries.
“In this primary, it’s pretty much an open primary,” said Hogan. “You’ve got judges races that are nonpartisan, you’ve got school board races that are non partisan... and you’ve got a tax collector’s race, which is unitary. So everybody will have a ballot.”
Hogan said unitary elections, like this year’s special election for tax collector, involve candidates that are associated with political parties, but everyone still `gets to vote.
For up-to-date ballot totals in the primary election, go to Duval.ElectionsFL.org/Election-Information/Voter-Turnout.