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Voter turnout lower than expected in Duval County

11:08 PM, Nov 7, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Voter turnout in Duval County was lower than it was in the last presidential election, roughly 72 percent this November compared to 77 percent in November 2008.

Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland said he expected a larger turnout this year because there were more about 23,000 more registered voters, but in reality, about 10,000 fewer ballots were cast compared to four years ago.

"When we say 72 percent turnout, that's about 145,000 voters in Duval County that did not vote at all. That's a lot of people when you consider a race. Had everyone voted statistically, that's bigger than the spread right now between the two candidates," Holland said.

With more early voting sites than ever before in Duval County, Holland said he felt like the county did everything it could to make voting accessible.

"Then you have to say 'why didn't voters come' and a lot of times, it comes back, and we see this over and over again, is how much negative campaigning is done," Holland said. "In reality, it does work, as far as it influences voters, but it also turns off voters and that may be a reason people are not happy with either candidate. "

Looking at early voting numbers, which he expects to carry over to Election Day, Holland said only about half of registered Independents in Duval County voted.

"You often look how many people who don't vote who really could make a difference. Often they say 'well my vote doesn't matter.' As a group, the biggest group that could matter is often those who don't vote, because they could have changed an outcome of an election," said Holland.

Holland said you can count on political scientists to really break down the statistics to see which parts of town people were engaged, what their economic background is and how they are affected by the current economy. All those things, he said, could play a role in helping future candidates campaign differently and get different results.

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