Q&A with St. Johns County Supervisor of Elections Vicky Oakes

Q: What is keeping your office busy at this time?
A: We are in the process of finalizing the polling places for the 2020 elections. March 2020, the time of the Presidential Preference Election, will be here before you know it. 

Q: What are the polling place changes for the northern St. Johns County?
A: All of the changes are due in some way to the population growth we are experiencing. In the Northwest, Precinct 109 has been at Bartram Trail High School for a long time, but with the school’s growth, we needed to move the precinct’s voting location to the Shearwater Amenity Center. Precinct 102 has been at Creekside Christian Church along with Precinct 105. We have found it necessary to give each precinct its own voting location and so Precinct 102, with 3,300 voters, will be moving to Unity Church while Precinct 105 will remain at Creekside Christian Church. 

In the Northeast, Nocatee’s very large Precinct 406 has voted at St. Francis in the Field Church and has grown to 11,000 voters. We split the precinct; some will stay at St. Francis in the Field and new Precinct 410 will vote at Nocatee’s Crosswater Hall.

Q: How will voters be notified of these changes?
A: Affected voters will be receiving their new voter cards in the mail very soon. Also, the Supervisor of Elections’ website will be updated with new maps and precinct information by mid-August.

Q: Can you share the dates of the 2020 elections?
A: The election dates are now firm. The Presidential Preference Election will be held on March 17, 2020. The Primary Election will be held on Aug. 18, 2020. This will give us 10 weeks between the Primary and General elections. Finally, the General Election, which is always the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, will be held on Nov. 3, 2020.

Q: Has your office had to do any work with petitions for proposed Constitutional Amendments?
A: Yes, we have had a tremendous amount of petitions come to our office from groups trying to get amendments on the ballot in November 2020. Only registered voters can sign a Constitutional Amendment petition. Staff from my office must check each one and then validate the petition to the state. We only have 30 days to verify and validate, so we actually needed to bring in some part time workers recently to get a large amount of petitions done. The deadline for petitions to come to our office is Feb. 1, 2020 to potentially get on the November ballot.

Q: How many petitions are needed to put a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot and what is the most common petition you have seen so far?
A: Statewide, 766,200 valid petitions are needed to get a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot. The most popular petition we’ve seen so far is a Constitutional Amendment calling for a citizenship requirement to vote in Florida elections. The proposed amendment seeks to firm up language in this regard that is already in the Florida constitution.

Q: What is the best way for our readers to contact you?

A: Readers can email me at voakes@votesjc.com or call me at (904) 823-2238. Our website, www.votesjc.com also has a wealth of information.