A Jacksonville Democratic legislator and sundry left-leaning groups convened Thursday to discuss voting access issues.
The timing was less than coincidental, on Day 4 of the Republican National Convention when President Donald Trump is slated to formally accept his party’s renomination from the White House.
Rep. Tracie Davis, reelected in August to her seat in House District 13, spent much of her career in the Duval County Supervisor of Elections Office. Before her run for state House, she ran for that seat in 2015.
While Davis is no longer part of the Supervisor of Elections office, voting access concerns move her.
“I’m here today to make sure voters are ready for the Presidential election … to make sure Duval County is doing what it needs to do,” Davis said, directing criticisms to both the Governor and Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan, the Republican who won the 2015 election against Davis.
Davis noted that elections supervisors petitioned the Governor for “flexibility,” but that “no response came from the Governor to the request.”
With November looming, Davis and other stakeholders came together to discuss the need for what she called “safe, secure, accessible elections for our voters.”
Speakers on the call urged Supervisor Hogan to do a better job messaging vote by mail procedures, with “secure dropboxes” available to provide voters a no-contact option as COVID-19 still presents concerns.
Davis also lamented discussions about not having early voting sites at the area’s two college campuses.
In 2018, after much controversy, University of North Florida and Edward Waters College were eliminated as early voting sites.
“We want our supervisors to be successful,” Davis said, but “questions [for which] we haven’t gotten answers” remain, and “we don’t know how those situations will be handled,” with a “supervisor that sometimes refuses to answer questions.”
“Duval voters deserve answers and notification and safe, secure, accessible elections especially on Nov. 3,” Davis said.
Accompanying Davis were representatives from All Voting is Local, the League of Women Voters, the New Florida Majority, and the Florida chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Voting access concerns have recurred in Duval County, which has a Democratic plurality, but Republican control of most governmental offices, including the Supervisor of Elections.
The county is still technically a swing county, though Democrats won the majority of statewide races on the 2018 ballot.