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Voting in Florida & Georgia during the 2020 election could be different due to pandemic

Some advocacy groups have filed lawsuits in Tallahassee calling for election changes.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 election might not be the first thing on your mind. But in the summer, another primary will be held in Florida, and in June, a postponed Georgia primary is set to take place.

In November, a general election will be held where we will vote for president and other state and local offices, and Jacksonville will vote on a sales tax referendum that would help improve public school facilities in Duval County.

It’s likely there will be some changes on how and where we vote. Mike Hogan, the Duval County Supervisor of Elections, said the time to plan is now.

“We have to plan that we are going to do a normal election, but we don’t expect it to be that way.” Hogan said.

Some advocacy groups have filed lawsuits in Tallahassee calling for election changes, which include:

  • Adding more dates for early voting and extending vote by mail
  • Reaching out to unregistered or inactive voters
  • Vote by mail ballots to be sent to all registered voters
  • Extending all voting deadlines such as registration
  • Using more drop boxes for those voting by mail

Hogan said going to an all vote by mail system would not be practical for large counties like Duval. He says many supervisors want to see the state take a different approach.

“We are looking more at a modified plan where you would extend early voting and perhaps open up voting centers instead of precincts, as we all fear we may not have a sufficient number of poll workers,” Hogan said.

That was a problem in south Florida, where hundreds poll of workers did not show in March. Hogan said given the average age of poll workers in Duval County, it could happen here. Approximately 60% are age 65 or older.

Hogan hopes a decision is made soon about what steps the state will take.

“We believe firmly that whatever is chosen will be the style that will be used in both August and November," Hogan said.

In a similar situation in Georgia on June 9, a primary will be held for president and other offices, and many of these same question are being discussed. The presidential primary in Georgia was supposed to be held March 24. It was moved to May and then delayed again to June.

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.