JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Wednesday might be the first day of the New Year, but Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan said his office has been focused on 2020 since September.
As of Wednesday, there were just 76 days before the Florida presidential primary and 11 months until the general election.
Beyond the candidates, much of the focus this year will be on the security of the elections.
Hogan said his staff has already been working overtime gearing up for the election. He said security is a top concern, given that Russians hacked election records in two Florida counties in 2016.
In Duval County, elections officials found emails that attempted to break into the county’s election system, but the emails were caught before anything happened.
Hogan said nearly $600,000 has been spent upgrading computer and security systems in Duval County.
“Everything we’ve done has been done to make it more difficult for someone to hack our systems,” Hogan said
There are new camera systems at the elections office and upgrades to the voter check-in system known as EViD, which verifies voter registration when people check in to vote. Below is a table of how the money has been spent, based on data provided by the state.
|Description||Cost per Budget||Funds Expended|
|Security cameras in Supervisor of Elections Office||$14,475||$13,432|
|Security cameras at Election Center||$16,740||$15,573|
|BOD Laptop upgrades||$25,396||$0|
|EViD update to Windows 10||$112,320||$112,860|
|DS 200 Modem upgrades||$90,000||$97,500|
|DS 200 Battery replacement||$55,250||$50,150|
There is other work going on as well. Election staff is currently processing signatures for a number of referendums, like marijuana reform and other issues that supporters hope will be on the ballot in November.
“The staff has been working overtime since September. Petitions this year are over 400,000 that we had to process,” Hogan said
Another concern this year involves restoring the right to vote for some convicted felons. Florida voters approved that change with Amendment 4 in 2018.
Hogan said felons can vote this year, but there are still issues.
“The rights restored now require that they made restitution. There is an issue going on about that and that’s in a lawsuit," Hogan said
Hogan said voters in Duval County are sometimes confused by the presidential primary, because it is a closed primary, meaning only registered Republicans or Democrats can vote for the candidate in their respective parties.
“That creates problems," Hogan said. “Folks that moved here from states that were open don’t understand why they can’t vote.”
Feb. 18 is the last day to register in Duval County if you want to vote in the presidential primary.
If you have yet to register to vote, you can get more information at https://registertovoteflorida.gov/home.
Early voting begins March 2 and the primary is on March 17.