90% turnout expected for general election?
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The board that oversees voting in Duval County expects record-breaking turnout in the November election.
The Duval County Election Advisory Panel, a group of citizens and officials that looks at election issues, is predicting a 81 percent voter turnout. That would mean nearly a half million people in Jacksonville will vote and shatter the record of nearly 78 percent in President Barack Obama's first election.
Statewide, officials expect a 90 percent turnout. The record in Florida was 83 percent in 1992, when Bill Clinton was elected to his first term as president.
Elections observers said voters can be very fickle, and that turnout depends a lot on who is running for office and the weather. This campaign with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton has been full of sparks. And while negatives for both candidates are high and the electorate is very polarized, it has many people fired up and ready to vote.
Rick Mullaney, director of Jacksonville University’s Public Policy Institute says that would be a pleasant surprise.
"To approach 90 percent would be remarkable," Mullaney said. "It would be pretty rare, but it's changed a lot. We now have early voting. They are keeping the hours open longer. There is a great deal of interest in this election. So it's possible to be in the 80s, and maybe approaching 90%. We hope everybody votes."
St Johns County's supervisor of elections also is planning on a 90 percent turnout in November, and Clay County officials expect voting to reach into the high 80 percent range.
"It's especially stunning when you consider when the turnout in August was about 28 percent in North Florida, and around the state, in the low 20s," Mullaney said.
To avoid overwhelming the precincts on Nov. 8, people are encouraged to take advantage of early voting, or to vote by mail.
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