• New Florida law could discontinue early voting on college campuses

    By: Courtney Cole , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    November 2020 may be more than a little over a year away, but talk about the general election has already begun. 

    Part of that conversation is about where voters can go to cast their ballots before Election Day.

    Action News Jax's Courtney Cole spoke to the Duval County supervisor of elections to learn how a new law could change the location of some of the early voting sites.

    "Voting on the college campus was the first time I ever voted,” Antoinette Apolon said.

    Now, some worry a new law that went into effect in Florida on July 1 could take early voting off of college campuses.

    During the legislative session in May, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a package that included a bill that explaining the supervisor of elections can designate a variety of public places to be used as early voting sites.


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    But, there’s a condition. These sites must have enough nonpermitted parking to accommodate voters.
    Some worry this is an effort to disenfranchise young voters.

    "A person coming off of the campus can go anywhere. So a person coming off of the campus, has the option to go to another early voting center. Whereas students typically have less access to transportation,” Apolon said.

    People on the other side of this argument simply say voters shouldn't have to worry about where to park when they're coming to vote.

    "They're young, they're smart, they're millennials. They know how to get from one place to another. I mean if it's important to them, they'll get to where they have to be,” James Kirschner said. 

    Mike Hogan, the supervisor of elections for Duval County, says he's more concerned about the parking issue for existing public library sites than their college sites.

    Currenty, there are more than a dozen early voting sites in Duval County. Two of them are colleges: Edward Waters College and the University of North Florida.

    When Cole asked Hogan how these college campuses will be effected, he said it's too early to tell right now — because the law is so new.

    When Cole asked Hogan if any of the early voting sites are in danger of closing, he told her they're conducting a study to evaluate all of their early voting sites to figure out if they have enough.

    The Duval County supervisor of elections also told Action News Jax early voting is becoming more popular with voters and overall turnouts have been up.

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