Historic City News reporters will rest up this weekend because, beginning at noon Monday, and continuing until noon Friday, June 20, 2014, St Johns County and municipal candidates will qualify to appear on the August 26th Primary Election ballot, and we’ll be here reporting the turns, spills, and drama in the pit as some of those announced candidates will fail to either produce the required petition signatures or pay the appropriate qualifying fee, some new candidates will make late entries into the races, and generally, anything can happen.
One thing that will be true at 12:01 p.m. Friday, that today is still unknown, is who the candidates for all local seats will be, who the opponents will be, and from that, everyone will have their predictions of who will win what race. Some will be right and some will be wrong.
Not counting political party candidates, like state committeeman and committeewoman, or precinct committeemen and committeewomen, Historic City News found that counting actual seats balloted in local elections have increased, steadily, since at least 2006 when there were 37 seats. In 2008 there were 39, in 2010 and 2012 there were 54, and this year there are 62 seats to fill, according to records on file with the elections office.
Going back to 2006, there were 54 candidates who qualified for local races. In 2008 there were 58 candidates, in 2010, there were 64. In 2012 there were 76 candidates and, so far this year, Supervisor of Elections, Vicky Oakes, reports there are 75 — but she expects more before the end of qualifying week.
“The increase in the number of offices and candidates that file with us is due to the Community Development Districts; which continue to increase,” Oaks told Historic City News editor Michael Gold. “We added 2 more CDDs this year, so we are up to 12 that must qualify. Tolomato CDD, in the Nocatee area, splits – part in Duval County and the remainder in St Johns County; so its candidates must qualify through the Division of Elections in Tallahassee.”
As we get closer to Election Day, we’ll pin Vicky down to predictions on voter turnout, but were curious and asked if she believed the higher number of candidates, particularly for some of the most contentious races, had any effect on voter turnout.
“Candidates can, and sometimes do, generate some turnout. That may happen during this election, but, it’s too early to tell,” Oakes told us this morning. “Of course, more development means more registered voters; and, as you know, the northern part of the county is seeing growth.”
List maintenance, performed statewide since the last election, resulted in fewer registered St Johns County voters, according to Oakes.