Duval County canvassing board reviewing provisional ballots

Some ballots that election staff remade may not have had public oversight

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Even though Duval County finished the overall counting of ballots, the canvassing board is still working to make sure every legitimate vote is accepted.

The board’s work will not dramatically change the local results -- election staff and observers said it’s important for transparency.

By Saturday, the election results in Duval County have to be certified and sent to the state. That means all vote-by-mail ballots and questionable ballots need to be addressed by then.

“That’s why we are getting this work done. We need to get the provisionals done and the mail ballots done," said Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan.

There are over a thousand ballots from people who voted at their precincts that had some problems during the process. Those are called provisional ballots. The canvassing board is determining which one will be accepted. Many of those have to do with voters' lack of identification at the polls. The canvassing board is also looking at vote-by-mail ballots where signatures don’t match the signature on file.

There are 371 of those in question, and those voters have until 5 p.m. Thursday to fix the signature problem or the entire ballot will be rejected.

There is now another concern facing the canvassing board. There are some ballots that election staff remade that may not have had public oversight, which is required by law. Several hundred were remade Tuesday and were included in the final vote tally election night. Democrats who voiced the concern wanted to review those ballots, which were already included in the final total. That could have put a kink in Duval County election results. On Wednesday, the canvassing board ruled it will allow those ballots to be accepted and will make changes so that will not happen in the future. Chris Hand, a lawyer for the Duval County Democratic Party, was one of those who raised the objection.

“For weeks, we have been concerned about transparency here at the supervisor of elections office," Hand said. “It is so important to ensure confidence and trust in the vote-counting process, and there have been some transparency problems.”

During the meeting Wednesday, an attorney for the Republican Party believed the complaint by the Democrats was not proper.

The board still voted to go ahead and count the ballots in question. It is also still reviewing other provisional ballots.

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