Duval elections office readies for polls

Early voting begins Saturday; strong turnout expected for General Election

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - From sorting to counting to stacking and training poll workers, the Duval County Supervisor of Elections Office is shifting into high gear for the General Election.

"We really want everybody to have a chance to vote who's eligible for it, and we want them to vote right so their vote will count. It's important," poll worker Arlene Spilker said.

With two weeks to go until Election Day, Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland is predicting long lines at local precincts and says voters can anticipate up to a two-hour wait during peak hours.

"This is the first time we've had a four-page ballot," Holland said. "It's about 3,000 words, it takes about 17 minutes to read, and our biggest concern is people coming to the polls without ever looking at the ballot until Election Day, and that will definitely slow up the process."

To avoid those lines, Holland says voters can do one of two things: vote early or absentee.

"If they want to vote by mail, they can just call us (904-630-1414) and we can take that request over the phone and get an absentee ballot out in a couple of days," Holland said. "The last time they can request is the Thursday before the election."

Starting Saturday through Nov. 3, precincts will be open 12 hours a day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters should make sure to bring a photo ID. Otherwise, they will be required to fill out a provisional ballot.

With 53 fewer precincts in Duval County this year, many polling locations have changed, so it's important for voters to double check the top left corner of their sample ballot for the correct address.

With Holland expecting a strong turnout, he offers up one final bit of advice before voters head to the polls.

"Take their sample ballot and fill it out when they get to the polls before they get there," he said. "Then they're not waiting to read and digest everything that's on the ballot. That way you have your selections already made."

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