Jacksonville special election happening Tuesday: Candidates and voting locations

Carter Mudgett, Editor in Chief

The race to fill the seat in the Jacksonville City Council left by late Council Member Tommy Hazouri has already begun; running from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. this Tuesday, Dec. 7, four candidates will face off as they compete for Jacksonville voters’ support. 

Should no candidate get more than 50 percent of the votes during this time period, the top two highest-voted candidates will face off once again in a runoff election on Feb. 22, 2022. 

The Candidates

James Jacobs and Tracye Polson, both Democrats, join Nick Howland and Howland Russel, both Republicans, on the ballot this election. 

James Jacobs

Jacksonville Special Election Candidate James Jacobs. Courtesy of James Jacob’s website.

“Coach” James Jacobs was raised in Sarasota, Florida, and is a current resident of Jacksonville. “Coach Jacobs has been intimately involved in Duval County Schools from 2001 to present,” reads his submitted candidate statement

With a bachelor’s degree in Public Safety Management, Jacobs has served as an Assistant Teacher for Special Needs and Autistic Children, a Paraprofessional and Program Director for Community and School-based before and after-school programs, and the Student Body President of Edward Waters University (EWC)— a private university in Jacksonville— among others. 

Dr. Tracey A. Polson

Jacksonville Special Election Candidate Tracye A. Polson. Courtesy of Polson’s website.

Dr. Tracye Polson is a licensed clinical social worker and small business owner who both lives and works in Jacksonville’s Southeast side, according to her website. Currently, Polson is the Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors (BOD) at Agape Family Health Center. Polson advocates for transparency and accountability, community wellbeing, and environmental justice. 

“I’m a trusted voice for my family, my patients, my colleagues, and my community — and I will bring that trustworthiness and assertive listening with me to City Council to fight for a transparent city government, reinstating the Safer Together Committee, and protecting all of our neighborhoods from climate change,” a statement from Polson on her website. 

Nick Howland

Jacksonville Special Election Candidate Nick Howland. Courtesy of Mike Hogan, Supervisor of Elections.

A Navy veteran and businessman, Nick Howland served on the USS CHANDLER and earned his bachelor’s degree at Duke University in 1995, according to his submitted biography. Howland was recently appointed to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Commercial Fishing Safety Advisory Committee by the Secretary of Homeland Security. 

Currently, he is the Executive Director of The Fire Watch, an organization dedicated to ending veteran suicide. 

Howland Russell

Howland “Howdy” Russell is a “Fiscal Conservative” and is looking to “build back trust in [the] City Council,” according to his Facebook page

Currently, Russell is the restaurant owner of the Jumpin’ Jax House of Food locations in downtown Jacksonville, Mandarin, and Atlantic Beach as reported by The Florida Times-Union. Spinnaker searched for information on this candidate, but could not find more.

More information on the candidates, provided by Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan, can be found here.

All four candidates have never held office and are competing for the Jacksonville City Council’s At-Large Group 3 seat that was previously held by Hazouri— a political veteran of Jacksonville—  prior to his passing. 

“He spent his final days at peace surrounded by his family and friends; and in typical Tommy fashion, there was no shortage of laughing, reminiscing, and holding loved ones close,” wrote the City of Jacksonville in a news release about Hazouri’s death on Sep. 11, 2021. 

Can you vote?

Voting is open to any Jacksonville resident or UNF student registered to vote in Duval County. As explained by the Florida Department of State Division of Elections, “Whether voting during early voting or on Election Day, you must bring a current and valid photo ID with signature.” A full list of accepted photo IDs can be found here

Voting Sites

Below are the first 10 precincts listed on the Duval County Elections sites that are open for voters to use. To view the full list of locations, visit here and click “All Precincts in Duval County.”

Saint Andrews Episcopal Church: 7801 Lone Star Rd.

University Park Library: 3435 University Blvd. N.

River Reach Baptist Church: 8150 Lone Star Rd.

Arlington Christian Church: 8075 Lone Star Rd. 

Terry Parker Baptist Church: 7024 Merrill Rd. 

Blue Cypress Community Center: 4012 University Blvd. N.

Arlington Baptist Church: 6009 Arlington Rd. 

The Central Church of the Nazarene: 2130 University Blvd. N. 

Arlington Congregational Church: 431 University Blvd. N. 

St. Pauls Episcopal Church: 5651 Atlantic Blvd. 

The University Voting Location Controversy

“Mr. Hogan, do the right thing. Reopen early voting sites at EWU and UNF. And do it now,” wrote Michelle Charron Hollie, Northeast Florida Chapter President of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida in a Letter to the Editor last week. 

As for UNF students, there will be no sites available on campus for early or election day voting. In the 2019 Jacksonville election, “The UNF Early Voting Site had 448 people show up – the lowest turnout in the county,” wrote Spinnaker in a previous article. Duval County Mike Hogan closed the site accordingly, along with the site at Edward Waters College (EWC)— a private university in Jacksonville— which experienced a similarly low turnout. 

Students registered to vote in Jacksonville are encouraged to participate in the election.


For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].