Jacksonville mayoral candidates encourage voters on last day of early voting

Early voting yielded low turn-out for the local election, with only 19% of registered voters casting their ballots before Election Day.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Nineteen polling locations closed their doors Sunday as early voting came to an end.

As of Sunday night, less than 20% of all registered voters cast their ballots before Election Day.

Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan said the goal was to get to about the 37% we saw during the last mayoral election, but that would take Election Day essentially matching all of early voting and mail in voting.

There were some voters out there today who were trying to make up that gap.

“This is important,” said Ben Whitfield after casting his ballot. “The mayor, you’re talking about city council. I have to vote. You can’t complain if you don’t vote.”

Whitfield says he votes in every election.

The same can’t be said for most Duval County voters – as the first local election vote in March only brought out 25% of all registered voters, and the May vote is off to a slow start too.

Both mayoral candidates did their part to encourage voters to head to the polls.

Donna Deegan cast her ballot on the final day of early voting.

“I’ve been telling everyone to take momma to the polls before you go to brunch or dinner, make sure you get out there to vote,” said Deegan. “I’ve been talking to everyone in this city. It’s been an effort to try to get the entire city unified and together.”

Daniel Davis was joined by U.S. Senator Rick Scott and Jacksonville Sheriff TK Waters to door knock in the neighborhood around Chimney Lakes Elementary School ahead of Election Day.

“Lots of Republicans like to vote on Tuesday,” said Davis. “Lots of folks that are Conservative like to vote early. The whole point today is making sure everybody gets out to vote. Personally, I’ve been able to knock on 4,927 doors so far.”

Considering mayor is the big ticket item on the ballot, First Coast News asked some early voters what they’d like to see Jacksonville’s new mayor accomplish.

“Bring this city together,” said Whitfield. “Keep crime down. Let this grow, so we can be proud of Jacksonville.”

“I think this city has some issues we need to deal with,” said Paul Sullivan after casting his ballot. “There’s a lot of homeless in this city. It’s gotten better, it truly has, but for a while there, it was terrible.”

In total, we’ve seen about 126,000 people vote between mail in and early voting, and it has skewed slightly blue – about 6,000 more Democrats than Republicans.

The polling locations will be closed tomorrow, then open from 7 to 7 on Election Day, and voters have to vote at their assigned location.

You can find your precinct here: Precinct Finder

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