Despite fewer choices on ballot, upcoming Jacksonville election comes with same price tag

The choices on the ballot will be sparse when Duval County voters go back to the polls on May 14th, but that doesn't mean the election comes with a smaller price tag.

There are five spots still undecided on the City Council and because two of them are in at-large groups, it means all 199 precincts have to open with the same level of staffing as any other election, says Mike Hogan, the supervisor of elections in Duval.

"Just about every election is going to cost between $1.2 and $1.4 million dollars, and that's excluding the occasional recount," Hogan says. "Recounts will cost a little more money."

In At-Large Group 3, incumbent Democrat Tommy Hazouri and Republican Greg Rachal will be the choices. Democrat Lisa King will face Republican Terrance Freeman in At-Large Group 1.

Those are the only choices you'll see on the ballot if you live in one of the precincts without a district runoff.

In District 8, Democrat Ju’Coby Pittman and Democrat Tameka Gaines Holly are the top two contenders. In District 10, the two choices are Democrat Brenda A. Priestly Jackson and Democrat Celestine Mills. District 14 is where Republican Randy DeFoor and Democrat Sunny Gettinger will be on the ballot.

"We're still looking at the numbers, but it could be as low as 10 percent," Hogan says of the overall turnout in the county. "That's not good, but we have to do everything that we did in the first election."

He says that means between 1,400 and 1,500 poll workers and beefing up his staff with extra part-time employees.

Hogan says he is considering some ideas to save money, but he's not ready to commit to any of them yet. Those cost-saving measures include limiting the number of early voting sites that are open and reducing the number of days they are.

But if he decides against that, the election could cost tax payers just as much as any other time the polls are open.

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