Duval County canvassing board finishes counting school name-change votes

Results could be announced late Wednesday or Thursday

DCPS Canvassing Board meets to scrutinize school name change ballots on May 19, 2021. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Duval County Public Schools’ Renaming Canvassing Board counted votes Wednesday taken over the last several weeks from stakeholders at nine Jacksonville schools. The board confirmed provisional ballots and judged eligibility questions on polling whether to rename nine schools in the district.

By mid-afternoon, all the votes were counted. The results are expected to be released either late Wednesday or during the day Thursday.

The results will also go to Superintendent Diana Greene, who will make a recommendation to the Duval County School Board on each of the schools under consideration for a new name.

The schools under consideration are:

  • Joseph Finegan Elementary
  • Stonewall Jackson Elementary
  • Jefferson Davis Middle
  • Kirby-Smith Middle
  • J.E.B. Stuart Middle
  • Robert E. Lee High
  • Andrew Jackson High School
  • Jean Ribault High School
  • Jean Ribault Middle School

On Wednesday morning, the canvassing board -- Pauline Drake, a retired Duval County judge; Ed Pratt-Dannals, retired superintendent of DCPS; and Vicki Drake, former Duval County School Board member -- elected a chairperson and began reviewing how the community balloting was set up, how the eligibility requirements work and what might trigger a provisional ballot.

This election, while unofficial, is being processed in a similar way as a regular municipal election.

The ballots were separated into two “races,” asking voters whether the name should be changed at all, and then asking what new name should be selected.

Each of the nine schools is the equivalent of an election precinct in a regular election. The ballots collected at each school are stored in separate, red bags for each day voting occurred. The provisional ballots are in purple bags.

The board will conduct a logic and accountability test on the ballot-counting machines to ensure accuracy, then the count began.

The outcome is non-binding but will inform Greene and the Duval County School Board of the will of current and former students of the schools, the staff and the neighborhoods they serve.

Greene will make a recommendation to the board, which has the ultimate authority whether or not to rename a school in the district. That decision is expected to take place at the board’s June 1 meeting.

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