Jacksonville, FL - The bill you pay to house the Supervisor of Elections warehouse will soon be taking a big fall.
Two weeks ago, Jacksonville’s City Council voted to move the warehouse site currently at Gateway Mall to One Imeson, a move that was favored by the Supervisor of Elections. Jacksonville’s Public Works Department had supported keeping the warehouse at the current location under a new lease. Both lease options had big savings built in for taxpayers compared to the $51,000/month bill currently.
Soon following the vote, Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown’s office made it clear he would take his time to consider all the options on the table, which included the potential for Brown to sign or veto the bill, or let it become law without his signature. A letter obtained today by WOKV shows Brown has chosen that third option.
The letter addressed to Council President Bill Gulliford says Brown still supports the recommendation of the Public Works department, which he believed was the best value for taxpayers. However, it further says that with City Council’s view now clear, it is time to move forward.
He says a significant consideration was savings for taxpayers, which will now begin with the budget year. If he had vetoed the bill and council had not been able to override it, taxpayers would have continued paying the current lease rate while the process of considering a move started all over.
Another main objection Brown says he had regarding the move was the potential to disenfranchise voters. Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland tells WOKV that just because the warehouse will be moving out of Gateway does not mean Gateway will no longer be a location where polling will take place.
But for Congresswoman Corrine Brown, the ability to access the warehouse on election night is just as important as where the polling locations are.
“We don’t want to just say that we voted, we want to make sure our vote counts,” she says.
She tells WOKV she’s still hopeful a lawsuit now pending will prevent the move from happening. She says One Imeson doesn’t have the same access for people who rely on public transportation and are interested in seeing the votes being counted.
“We have gone a long way in developing confidence in the system, and for them to just come up with moving the office- I’ve never seen this,” Brown says.
She says Duval County has a history of throwing out votes casted by minority voters, and taking the warehouse location to a place that’s difficult to access will only open the door to disenfranchising voters.