CLAY COUNTY – We get the representation that we elect.
In Clay County for the upcoming 2022 Primary, we will prepare for 100% voter turnout; but we will be delighted to achieve 80%. To accomplish this, we will have Early Voting, voting on Election Day and Vote by Mail. Even with these accommodations for 80% potential turnout, where are the 20% of voters who are not engaged enough to play an active role by casting a ballot? Why will they not vote? I have heard many reasons, and most of them boil down to “convenience,”
Twenty percent is approximately 32,000 voters. This abysmal number is disappointing when you consider that, at no other time in history, has voter registration been more convenient and accessible. In addition to registering at our office, a Clay County citizen can register to vote:
• online at clayelections.gov or at registertovoteflorida.gov
• at any library
• while obtaining or renewing your Florida driver license
• at any public assistance office
• at any post office
• as a 16-year-old high school student
• at any elections office outreach event
Considering this myriad of options currently available, access to voter registration doesn’t appear to be the problem.
Some say that they cannot get to the polls. I understand life is busy. However, we have 10 days of Early Voting for nine hours a day, at seven locations across the county, in addition to the regular 12 hours of voting on Election Day. If that is not accessible for some, we will offer Voting by Mail in the comfort of one’s own home. If the vote by mail ballot is rejected due to lack of signature or has a signature that does not match what is on file, then the ability to “cure your signature” by completing an updated registration form is available. We also offer the ability to vote provisionally if a voter’s eligibility is being called into question. When reviewing the options available to all voters, I do not think voter access is the problem.
Some may say that they are unaware of a candidate’s position or what a pending piece of legislation may actually mean. However, with an individual candidate or election information online or at a public library, it is hard to not be an informed voter if one has that desire. Lack of information is not the problem.
Florida is very accommodating when it comes to the types of identification necessary to validate your voter eligibility. In addition to a Florida driver license or identification card issued by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Florida accepts:
• United States passport
• Debit or credit card
• Military identification
• Student identification
• Retirement center identification
• Neighborhood association
• Public assistance identification
• Veteran health identification card issued by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs
• License to carry a concealed weapon or firearm issued pursuant to s. 790.06
• Employee identification card issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of the Federal Government, the state, a county or a municipality.
If the photo ID does not include a signature, you will be asked to provide another ID that has your signature. If you do not bring a proper ID, you can still vote using a provisional ballot. As long as you are eligible and voted in the proper precinct, your provisional ballot will count, provided the signature on your provisional ballot matches the signature in your registration record. Access to proper identification is not the problem.
Florida Supervisors of Elections have lobbied for many positive legislative changes and Florida legislators have passed many of these recommendations which have resulted in some of the best election laws in the country, but, at the end of the day, it will take all of us to combat the problem of voter apathy.
Sometimes we have to be honest; maybe it is not them, but we the people. Remember, good government never goes out of style.
If you have questions or need more information, visit ClayElections.gov
or call our office at (904) 269-6350.
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