JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County residents who vote by mail should check their mailbox over the next couple of days for a ballot in a special election to fill Tommy Hazouri’s City Council seat.
Four people are running for the seat vacant since the death of the former mayor and City Council president. Early voting in the special session begins the Saturday after Thanksgiving and all precincts will be open Dec. 7.
With other municipal elections also coming up this fall, Florida’s chief elections officer is reassuring voters about security and integrity. In a letter to every county supervisor of elections, Secretary of State Laurel Lee wrote: “We have already completed an audit of all 67 counties. And that audit demonstrated an exceedingly high level of election integrity and, again, demonstrated that our results were accurate, (and) reliable.”
Lee and other elections officials suggest that voters questioning the vote count get the facts from trusted election experts, learn more about how elections are administered and the security measure in place to protect our votes.
″We are still receiving phone calls and emails about the accuracy and integrity of the vote,” Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan said.
Hogan suspects that every elections supervisor in Florida has been bombarded with similar allegations of election fraud since the 2020 presidential election -- a message fostered by former President Donald Trump and many in his party.
Hogan points to both a pre-election audit and a post-election audits that verify the accuracy of the final counts.
″Our folks need to know right now that Florida is the shining light after the debacle that we experienced in 2000,” Hogan said. “Since 2000, the state of Florida has been put a lot of effort into making sure we never have to experience something like that again.”
Clay County Election Supervisor Chris Chambless also urges voters who have sincere skepticism about the election to educate themselves about the voting process through sources other than social media or hearsay.
Beyond the current City Council election in Jacksonville, state and federal elections in Florida will be held next year, with a primary in the summer and a general election next November for state house and senate seats, as well as U.S. House and Senate State seats, and dozens of local races in most counties.
Jacksonville’s other City Council seats, mayor, sheriff and other Duval County offices will be on the ballot in spring 2023.