Undecided voters could swing city election

Candidates for mayor, sheriff, other races make final push to sway voters

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It's crunch time for the candidates as they prepare for Tuesday's city elections.

The key for many of them will be swaying the large number of undecided voters.

The last poll showed about 20 percent of voters hadn't made up their minds yet in the mayor's race. That could decide who gets into office and who doesn't -- or at least decide who qualifies for a runoff in May.

"The undecided voter is key to determining this election," News4Jax political analyst Jennifer Carroll said. "All of the candidates are vying for their parties to come out and vote for them and hopefully get some crossovers. The undecided is a field of individuals that you don't know which way they are going to go."

MORE: 2015 Jacksonville Voter's Guide | Find your precinct

Republican candidate for mayor Lenny Curry worked the phones Monday, hoping the one-on-one approach would convince those voters. 

Mayor Alvin Brown was at his campaign headquarters, working to lock in votes and rally support for his re-election bid.

City Councilman Bill Bishop was waving a sign along one of the city's busy roadways in Arlington.

Early voting is over, but some residents voted Monday by absentee ballot. Cherae Miles picked up a ballot for her mother on Monday. Miles said she voted early already and even though there are so many candidates -- four for mayor and seven for sheriff -- she said she did not have a hard time deciding.

"I did not feel it was a hard choice. I just looked at what was important to me and I listened to what they had to say and then from there I was able to decide who to vote for," Miles said.

At least seven races will be decided Tuesday.

Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland is predicting only a 30 to 35 percent voter turnout. That means lines might not be long at polling places, but the ballot is lengthy. Along with mayor and sheriff, voters will be deciding on City Council members, a new supervisor of elections and two referendums.

"Know where your polling location is," Holland advised. "The easiest way is first to go look at your sample ballot. It will have your polling location. If you don't have your sample ballot, go to our website www.duvalelections.com. There is a precinct finder and that will tell you where your voting location is for tomorrow."

The call center will be open Tuesday morning to answer any questions. That number is 904-630-1414. In past years, many people who could not make it to the polls in time would vote absentee downtown. Voters can still do that if it's an emergency, but they have to make sure it's done before 7 p.m.

"At 7 o'clock, you must give us the absentee ballot you voted," Holland said. "You don't have time past 7 to give us the absentee ballot. Now at the polls, if you're in line at 7, you are still entitled to vote. That is why we encourage people to go to their polling location."

Interest is high for this election. More than 8,000 people voted Sunday, and 26,000 more people have voted so far compared to four years ago, but that's still only 16 percent of the eligible voters.

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