JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — Voters at a precinct in Jacksonville Beach had to wait more than an hour past the scheduled opening time in order to go inside and cast their ballots.
It’s all because a worker couldn’t access the voting equipment.
Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan said there was a breakdown in protocol and up to 10 voters may have been turned away.
The roving clerk who assisted those voters believed those voters came back at a later time, but Hogan said he takes responsibility for the incident that sent workers scrambling to try and get into a room with important voting equipment locked inside.
Action News Jax’s Jessica Barreto spoke with Hogan right before precincts opened and hinted there was an issue at one location.
“We got 186 opening up and they’ve gotta be open and ready to vote at 7 a.m. We have one little situation where the landlord hasn’t shown up to let us in so we’re a little anxious about that but it’ll happen,” Hogan said.
That location turned out to be the Bennie Furlong Senior Center in Jacksonville Beach.
It did eventually open almost an hour and a half later.
Barreto: “Just to recap: What happened this morning?”
Hogan: “Well this morning when the manager got there, she couldn’t find her equipment. And she called our warehouse manager who is responsible for any and everything out -- to all the precincts, and he called our vendor and the vendor said, ‘Oh, yeah, we delivered it there and sent a picture.’ So it was there. It was in a locked room and we did not have a key to that room. We had a key to everything but we didn’t have a key to that room and that’s not where our vendor had left it. But nevertheless it took some time, even calling the Jacksonville Fire Department at one point if we couldn’t get in, we were gonna tear the door down. But we finally got in. It takes about 30 minutes once you get he equipment plugged in to actually get it to perform so we opened late, about 8:20 a.m.”
Hogan said the manager should have set up yesterday and instead waited until this morning.
“It’s a human error,” Hogan said. “It’s on my watch, so it’s my fault.”
He also explained there were about three to six people in line, but eight to 10 may have been turned away.
Barreto: “How do you want to address those concerns and frustrations?
Hogan: “It frustrates us as well. I can tell you, I only received two emails about this. They had very few calls about this, less than two. Excuse me, less than two or three.”
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He is imploring those voters who may not have gotten a chance to cast their ballot to come back.
“We don’t like telling people that, but that’s reality,” he said. “They can come back and vote before 7 p.m.”
The precinct will remain open until 7 p.m. We asked Hogan if the manager or workers involved will face any disciplinary action and he said the office would determine that after the election.