As we prepare for the mid-term elections this fall, Historic City News will be reporting the information you need to know about how elections are conducted in St Johns County. There are some significant changes being implemented this year with more on the horizon. We went to the expert to get the best answers.
The State of Florida and county officials recently completed their redistricting processes which will mean new St Johns County precincts and polling places. Implementation of the new St Johns County district plan and changes to districts in state and regional elections is a work in progress.
“Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy, and Florida’s open and transparent elections are no exception,” St Johns County Supervisor of Elections Vicky Oakes told local Historic City News reporters. “I have 100% confidence in our voting equipment and our processes. You can tour our facility to see how diligently my staff and I work every day to secure your vote. Contact our office at 904-823-2238 to make an appointment.”
The Board of County Commissioners and the St Johns County School Board adopted their voting districts on December 9, 2021. The largest changes in district lines occurred in District 1 and District 4, which have both been greatly reduced in size. Districts 2, 3, and 5 increased in size to balance the population across the districts.
The state legislature ended the legislative session on March 14, 2022. New Florida Senate and House districts were adopted and have been approved by the Florida Supreme Court. The new boundaries for congressional districts were adopted by the House and Senate; however, legal challenges have already occurred, and Governor DeSantis has stated he will not sign the legislation; so, time will tell.
Since our voting precinct lines are based on County Commission and School Board district lines, precinct lines must now be redrawn based on the new districts. Many precinct numbers will be changing, and polling places are also under review. Oakes said that she anticipates adding precincts and polling places in preparation for busy elections in 2022 and 2024. Her staff is already working to finalize new precinct lines and polling places, although the Board of County Commissioners must approve the new precinct lines.
A map of the new districts is available on the Supervisor of Elections website: www.votesjc.gov
How does that affect me as a voter?
- District lines affect the selection of your elected officials, the races that appear on your ballot, and who you vote for in an election. Your precinct number and polling place may change. Stay updated on the redistricting process by visiting www.votesjc.gov.
When and how will I be notified of these changes?
- If your physical address has changed, call our office at 904-823-2238 as soon as possible. Once the district work has been finalized, all voters in St Johns County will be mailed a new voter information card. The card will reflect your updated address, new district, precinct, and polling place. Our goal is to mail these in May, but it may be June — depending on what happens with the congressional districts.
Will these new changes affect candidates for office in the 2022 elections?
- Yes. Candidates who wish to run for office must file their paperwork with the Elections Office, or the Division of Elections in Tallahassee, to appear on the ballot. The filing deadline to run for office in the 2022 elections is noon on June 17, 2022. Questions from candidates can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.