JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – If you’re in the military or overseas, there are only a few weeks left to cast a ballot this election. So one would think the bulk of the ballots would be requested by now, but turns out this year that’s not the case.
"We're still getting requests daily that we're processing, but we’re way down from the 2008 numbers,” said Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland.
In 2008, here in Duval County there were 7,801 military and overseas absentee ballot requests. This year, as of Thursday, there were only 5,184 requests.
The gap is even more dramatic across the state.
According to a recent report by the Military Voter Protection Project, Florida has only received absentee ballot requests from 16 percent of eligible military voters. The military watchdog group points to poor execution of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE Act) as the reason why. The MOVE Act was intended to make it easier for military voters to get assistance.
But Holland disagrees with their assessment. He thinks the explanation may simply be that there are more troops stateside than there were in 2008.
"Nothing has really changed from the way we did it in 2008. In fact, we’ve done more enhancements since then. We do everything in our power to make sure those fighting for our freedom, have the opportunity to vote,” said Holland.
But whatever the reason may be, numbers are down and Holland acknowledges that’s a worrisome fact in such a crucial election.
“We want to see a great turnout. It's a very important election. I want to make sure all of our military has access to it,” he said.
To request an absentee ballot you can call the Elections Office at 904-630-1414. You can also submit an electronic request at http://duvalelections.com/items.aspx?id=28.