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

Q: What is the focus of your office for the month of February?
A: Keeping in mind that the March 17 Presidential Preference Primary is a closed election, it’s important for voters to note that only registered Republicans and Democrats can vote. Of the 193,540 registered voters in St. Johns County, 45,562 of them are registered with no party affiliation or with a minor political party and, in accordance with state law, are not eligible to vote. These voters can change their party affiliation easily online or by calling our office. The deadline to change party affiliation to vote in the March 17 election is Feb. 18.

Q: What else is happening in February?
A: Vote by Mail ballots, for those voters who requested them, are scheduled to be mailed out on Feb. 6. It’s not too late to request a Vote by Mail ballot; simply call our office or go online to do so. If you don’t remember if you have made a request, go to the “My Voter Status” tab on our website to check.

Q: How long does a Vote by Mail request last?
A: This request lasts for two general elections, which would be four years. We ask voters to specify if they’d like the request for a shorter period of time. 

Q: Are there any polling place changes for the March 17 election?
A: Yes, since the last election, in the Northeast we have had a couple of changes. Precinct 406 was a very large precinct in Nocatee. It grew to more than 11,000 registered voters, so we split it into two precincts. Precinct 406 will still vote at St. Francis in the Field on Palm Valley Road. New Precinct 410 will vote at Crosswater Hall in Nocatee. Only voters who received their new Voter Information Cards in the mail will move to Crosswater Hall.

In the Northwest we have also had a couple of changes. Precinct 102, which covers a large portion of Julington Creek Plantation, will now vote at Unity Church, 2777 Race Track Road. (Precinct 105 still votes at Creekside Christian Church.) Also, Precinct 109, which used to vote at Bartram Trail High School, will move to the Shearwater Amenity Center. We have already mailed out new Voter Information Cards to all affected voters. 

Q: Do you have anything else to share about the Presidential Preference Primary?
A: There are 16 Democrat candidates and four Republican candidates on the ballot. We prepare the ballot based on when the state certifies, which has already occured. Voters need to pay attention and be aware of which candidates have recently suspended their campaigns. These candidates will still be on the ballot due to the earlier date of the state certification.

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.