Military overseas ballots could prove to be decisive this election

Making sure all votes are counted

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It’s been long days for Duval County elections employees, and Mike Hogan, supervisor of elections, said the days will only get longer.

“There’s a lot of work in this one; there’s a lot of volume.”

Today, we sat in on a canvassing board meeting where ballots were being duplicated because of avoidable errors like not filling in the oval.

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Some of the ballots staff were processing Wednesday also came from military members overseas.

In Duval County, 12,878 service members requested absentee ballots.

Some of those ballots are being faxed to the Supervisor of Elections Office.

“There are thousands of those, and we have to convert those faxed documents into a paper that we can tabulate,” said Hogan.

Military members legally have until Nov. 13 to return their ballots.

Flagler College political science expert Dr. Arthur Vanden Houten said the military vote could be critical.

“We might find ourselves in a situation where we’re not sure who the winner of the state is until Nov. 13,” he said.

Vanden Houten said in 2016 there were 50,000 military ballots cast in Florida.

“Evidence suggests, as the military usually does, they vote and turn out in high numbers that we should exceed even traditional numbers, so I would expect we’re going to see a pretty high turnout,” said Vanden Houten.