Election Day is here, Duval County voter turnout rising

Mallory Pace, Government Reporter

Election Day is here, and Duval County’s unofficial voter turnout sits at 261,000, according to the Duval Supervisor of Elections website, but the number is rising each hour.

The Pablo Creek Public Library, precinct 312, has seen a constant flow of voters but saw a majority of its voters prior to Election Day with 1,825 people early voting and around 450 Election Day voters so far. Despite relatively high numbers, turnout for Duval County currently sits at just over 39% as of 12:30 p.m.

Midterm elections have historically seen low voter turnout, especially among young voters. However, the 2018 midterm election saw an unprecedented voter turnout in gender and racial diversity which resulted in the most diverse U.S. Congress in history

Candidate signs outside of the Pablo Creek Regional Library, precinct 312, which was open to voters on Election Day. (Mallory Pace)

Currently, Democrats have control over both the House and Senate. The stakes are high in this election because the results will determine whether Republicans will gain control over Congress and, in turn, dictate whether President Biden will be able to enact any meaningful legislation in the final two years of his presidency. 

In order to take control of Congress, Republicans need a net gain of five seats in the House and one seat in the Senate to win a majority in each chamber. 

Some of the tossup races predicted to play a significant role in the control over Congress come from the Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin Senate races, as well as Michigan, Nebraska and Pennsylvania House races.  

Politico Forecast predicts Republicans will take control over the House while the Senate remains a tossup. 

The hidden policies and issues the ballot contains also contribute to the high stakes of this election — the potential future of abortion rights after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, gun laws and regulation and the state of the economy as inflation soars.  

As for the 2022 midterms, motivation to vote among both parties is significantly high for a midterm election. 

A “Vote Here” sign inside the Pablo Creek Regional Library, precinct 312, on Election Day. (Mallory Pace)

A poll from Pew Research Center found 79% of Democrats and 80% of Republicans are extremely or very motivated to vote while 72% of Democrats and 76% of Republicans say it really matters which party wins control of Congress. 

Khris Giljam is a freshman at the University of North Florida (UNF) studying digital video production. A first-time voter, Giljam said they decided to vote in the midterm elections because it’s important to make your voice count. 

“A lot of people think voting is just a number and doesn’t really matter that much but the numbers add up,” they said.  

Hitting close to home, Giljam said LGBTQ rights are one of the most important issues to them when voting although they had a hard time finding specific information on candidates and where they stand on LGBTQ rights.  

Giljam said they voted in all races because it didn’t give them an option to not vote, however voters are not required to make a selection in every race on the ballot.  

The act of leaving one option blank on a ballot while filling out other options is commonly referred to as undervoting, according to Ballotpedia. Voters have the right to undervote if they choose to do so. 

UNF Senior and political science major Selah Jones attended UNF’s early voting event that offered transportation to students to the nearest early voting site.  

Mikayla Beaudrie, a University of North Florida English professor, worked with the faculty union and Intercultural Center to make early voting easy for students on Oct. 28. Students were invited to the Osprey Clubhouse for a pizza party where volunteers had information about early voting and, with funding from UFF, would shuttle them to an early voting site at the nearby Pablo Creek Regional Library. (Justin Nedrow)

Jones said she typically has a hard time accessing transportation to voting sites, so she took advantage of the opportunity UNF provided. 

One of the races that influenced Jones to vote was for Lakesha Burton for the Duval Sherriff’s Office because she attended some of Burton’s debates and liked the points she made. 

“I think not a lot of people pay attention to the midterm elections, they only vote when it’s for the president,” Jones said. “I think everyone should educate themselves and come out to vote when they can because it’s the little things that matter.”

Voting in Florida ends at 7 p.m. and results for races across the country will begin to trickle in shortly after. 


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