On Monday, 20 sites opened their doors for early voting in Duval County.
While voters have many options and opportunities to vote ahead of the March 19 election, the supervisor of elections is only projecting a 30 percent overall turnout in the unitary election.
Action News Jax reporter Courtney Cole spoke to a local political science expert to learn what could be affecting the turnout and which candidates on the ballot turnout could be affected the most.
Scott Lara said he votes early during every election.
"I'm a U.S. Navy veteran, so I think it's critical we take our voting right seriously and get out and vote,” Lara said.
Lara is one of the few voters who turned out for the first day of early voting in Duval County.
"It does worry me that more people don't advantage of their right to vote,” Lara said.
There are 606,036 active registered voters in Duval County.
According to Mike Hogan, the Supervisor of Elections—that's about 50,000 more than in the last city election in 2015.
But more registered voters doesn't necessarily mean more people are voting.
Hogan says this year, his office only sent out 40,000 mail-in ballots, compared to 60,000 in the 2015 election.
Mike Binder, an associate professor of political science at UNF, says low turnout could be due to the fact that it's an off-year election.
“Also, the campaign. There's no Democrats on the ballot, at least not in the mayor's race. Obviously (in the) City Council Race, there's a lot of Democrats running — but that kind of draws down turnout a little bit,” Binder said.
Binder says low turnout won't likely affect the outcome of the mayoral race, because it's not a close one right now.
But, he says it could make all the difference when it comes to who takes the council seats.
"If you're a really active candidate and you have a core group of supporters—5,000 or 6,000 or 10,000 people — that's going to be enough to get your elected,” Binder said.
For the latest information on all of the candidates you'll see on your ballot— check out our Election 2019 voter guide.
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