Clay County election officials work to build the public’s trust ahead of election season

Early voting begins on August 13

Clay County election officials are working to be more transparent with the public to build trust in the election system.

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Clay County election officials are working to be more transparent with the public to build trust in the election system.

Clay County’s Supervisor of Elections Chris Chambless held a logic and accuracy test demonstration Friday to invite the public to learn about how ballots are taken in and counted on election night.

News4JAX spoke to several Clay County residents who are experiencing mixed emotions when it comes to voting: some said they always vote while others said they never do because they feel their vote doesn’t matter. In the past two years, more people are starting to lose trust in the power of their vote. That’s one of the reasons why Chambless has been inviting the public inside the election building to see how they do their job.

We asked some voters if they felt confident in their vote.

Some voters believe their vote matters.

“I’m pretty confident our votes get counted. I don’t subscribe to many of the conspiracy theories,” Mike Francisco said.

On the other hand, there are people like Beverly VanGundy who don’t think their vote counts.

“Honestly, no,” VanGundy answered. “I don’t think they recognize who we are on the lower end than some of the high-class people.”

Bobby Rivers also told New4JAX he doesn’t vote because he doesn’t think it matters as well.

The skepticism that many votes share is part of the reason why Chambless wanted the public to come to see how things are properly done.

“We test the specific machines that are used on election day during early voting as well as the high-speed counters that count ballots,” Chambless said.

Chambless wanted people to see this process for themselves and also to know that the election counting room has windows and can be seen by anyone.

“You can stand out on our public sidewalk here at our office and look into the tabulation room and see the entire process. All the meetings are open to the public. We welcome individuals to witness that process,” Chambless said.

Chambless believes transparency and bringing the public into the process can help voters trust election officials and ensure them that their ballots count.

Early voting in Clay County begins on August 13. Primary elections are on August 23.

About the Author:

Scott is a multi-Emmy Award Winning Anchor and Reporter, who also hosts the “Going Ringside With The Local Station” Podcast. Scott has been a journalist for 25 years, covering stories including six presidential elections, multiple space shuttle launches and dozens of high-profile murder trials.