Early voting for Florida’s presidential primary is now underway in Jacksonville.
Early voting locations are now open in Duval County and will open across all of Florida by March 7, in advance of Florida’s March 17 primary.
Meanwhile, voting by mail runs through the end of business day on March 14.
As of 11 a.m. Monday morning, 12,562 Republicans and 7,562 Democrats in Duval County had returned their ballots by mail, according to the Florida Division of Elections.
There are 16 Democrats on the ballot, including several who have suspended their campaigns since qualifying, including Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who suspended his campaign Sunday evening.
Voters who have already cast their ballots for suspended candidates will not be able to change their vote.
“Once you’ve cast your ballot, you’re done,” said Michael Binder, the Public Opinion Research Lab Director and a political science associate professor at the University of North Florida. “Now, you can cast a provisional ballot if, for example, you’ve forgotten if you’ve voted or you’re not sure. But if that initial ballot is good, that’s the one that you’re voting with.”
With key dates coming up, including Super Tuesday on March 3, Binder said the landscape could change dramatically during the early voting period.
“Things can happen up until the last minute that could potentially impact your thought process and choice,” Binder said. “So yes, there’s a convenience factor, but you miss out on some information.”
However, just because a voter casts a ballot for a candidate who has suspended his or her campaign, it doesn’t mean the vote is meaningless.
“What’s going to happen is whatever candidates get above 15% of the vote in Florida, they’re going to get all the delegates earned and get allocated proportionally among them,” he said.
Suspended candidate votes are still votes.
“Let's say, Mayor Pete gets a whole ton of votes,” Binder said. “What does that mean? Well, it's not gonna mean anything for his election. But what it might mean it might give him some soft power, might give him some influence or land him on a vice presidential ticket.”
On the First Coast, voters in the city of St. Augustine will be voting on two propositions in addition to the presidential primary.
The first would extend terms for police and fire department representatives on the Civil Service Board from one to three years.
The other would require candidates to live and be registered to vote in the city for one year prior to qualifying to run for office or being appointed to the City Commission.
- Read the summaries of the St. Augustine propositions
- Full text of the Civil Service Board proposition
- Full text of the Residency Requirements proposition
In addition to Duval, other area counties are also rolling out early voting locations no later than March 7:
- Baker (Begins March 5)
- Clay (Begins March 6)
- Duval (Begins March 2)
- Flagler (Begins March 7)
- Nassau (Begins March 6)
- St. Johns (Begins March 7)
WJCT News partner News4Jax has also put together a regional map of early voting locations:
The Duval County Supervisor of Elections reminded registered voters that they will need to show a current and valid picture and signature identification before being allowed to vote early. The list of acceptable forms of identification is as follows:
- Florida driver license
- Florida identification card issued by the Department of Highway, Safety and Motor Vehicles
- United States passport
- Debit or credit card
- Military identification
- Student identification
- Retirement center identification
- Neighborhood association identification or Public assistance identification
- Veteran health identification card issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- A license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm issued pursuant to s. 790.06, F.S.
- Employee identification card issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of the Federal Government, the state, a county, or municipality
Sky Lebron can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @SkylerLebron.