JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It’s an important election cycle in Duval County, with Mayor, Sheriff, 15 City Council seats, Property Appraiser, and Tax Collector all up for a vote.
FULL LIST: Candidates for office in Duval County
WOKV is bringing you the information you need to get ready for Election Day.
There are two election days coming up, March 19 and May 14.
March is not considered a primary, rather it's the "First Unitary Election". It's an important difference from what you generally consider a primary, because in Florida, partisan primary elections are closed to only voters registered in the party on the ballot. This First Unitary Election is open to all voters regardless of party registration, and you will be able to vote in all of the races that are relevant for you based on where you live -- and therefore which City Council District you're in -- not your party affiliation. You can get a sample ballot, which lists all the races that you will vote on, through the Duval County Supervisor of Elections website.
Some races will be settled in the March election. If, in a race, a candidate does not get 50%+1 of the votes, then the top two vote-getters advance to the General Unitary Election in May, where a winner will be decided.
While you do not have to be registered with any specific party to participate in these elections, you do have to be registered to vote. The deadline for that is February 19 for the March election, and April 15 for the May election. The Duval Supervisor of Elections website has more information about how to register to vote.
To vote absentee in March, you must request a ballot be mailed by March 13th at 5 p.m. That deadline for the May election is May 8. Military and overseas voting has different deadlines, with full information also on the Supervisor of Elections website.
If you are going to vote-by-mail, it is incredibly important to ensure how you sign your name matches the signature on file with the Supervisor of Elections, because that is how your identity is confirmed, and therefore how your vote is counted. You must fill out a signature affidavit if there is a signature problem, including a mismatch or missing signature. You can avoid the problem outright by contacting the Supervisor of Elections Office ahead of time to verify your signature.
Vote-by-mail ballots must be received at the Supervisor of Elections by 7 p.m. on Election Day. If you have a completed absentee ballot, you can either mail it or turn it in at the Supervisor of Elections. If you received an absentee ballot but decide you want to vote on Election Day instead, you can turn in your vote-by-mail ballot to any early voting site or polling location and cast your ballot in person.
For the March election, early voting takes place over 14 days -- Monday, March 4 through Sunday, March 17. May election early voting begins Monday, April 29 and lasts through Sunday, May 12. The locations are open 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. through 6 p.m. weekends.
There are 19 early voting sites, and you can vote at any of them, regardless of what precinct you would normally use on Election Day. Among the locations, early voting will be held at the University of North Florida and Edward Waters College for only the second and third time -- in March and then May -- after being first done in November.
There are 199 precincts where voters cast ballots in Duval County on Election Day. To find the one you vote at, you can check on the Supervisor of Elections website.
Whether voting early or on Election Day, you must show a current, valid picture and signature ID, which can include a Florida driver license, US passport, Florida ID card or similar forms.
If there are any problems with your ballot, including if you do not have a photo and signature ID, you will be issued a provisional ballot. If the provisional ballot relates to an ID issue, the ballot will be compared to your voter registration record by the Canvassing Board. If your ballot deals with any other issue, like you were at the wrong precinct, you will be able to present evidence of your eligibility.
You can check the status of your ballot on the Supervisor of Elections website.
Cox Media Group