JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Dozens of #WalkTheVote Parades across the county took place Saturday to encourage early in-person voting, including two events in Jacksonville and St. Augustine.
Community members met at Lonnie Miller Regional Park to participate.
It’s part of a nationwide initiative to encourage voters to join in by practicing social distancing, wearing a mask and voting early ahead of Election Day.
“It’s important for us to continue to push for better voting rights, better education and better health care system and so right now is the most important part of our time for us as voters to get them out to the polls,” said Siottis Jackson with My Vote Project.
Jackson said he wants to see the highest voter turnout possible in the county.
Rapper Common from Chicago was in Jacksonville for a “Party at the Polls” event to encourage the community to get out and vote.
“Jacksonville has a powerful community of people who need to be engaged, who need to feel a part of what voting means,” Common said. “The people of Jacksonville have got a lot to give and a lot to say -- and how important your vote is.”
Walk the Vote parades encourage people to personally deliver their ballot to the ballot box safely without waiting in a long line. Voters walked to the Legends Center on Soutel Drive on the other side of the park to drop off their ballots.
Voters of all ages, backgrounds and party affiliations in Jacksonville participated.
“It’s about unity to us. Unity. Going together and empowering each other,” said Gaile Williams, a Southside resident.
Williams said she’s taking part in Walk the Vote to bring people together.
“Educate each other while we walk. If there’s any last-minute questions or anything like that, we can answer those questions,” Williams said.
Walk the Vote is being held in more than 18 cities in a number of swing states to encourage in-person, early voting ahead of Election Day on Nov. 3.
“Voting now is like survival to us,” said Williams.
A Walk the Vote parade also took place in St. Augustine Saturday morning.
The deadline to request a ballot by mail is Saturday. All counties in Florida have now opened their early voting periods, and most counties continue early voting through next Saturday while Nassau and Duval counties remain open on the Sunday before Election Day, as well.