Mike Lyons filled out a ballot, a lenghty ballot this year, that took him more than 16 minutes to fill out reading every word
Amendments more than 3,000 words in length, detailed and confusing.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The ballot is so long and complicated that Duval County elections officials are urging people to request an absentee ballot to avoid a two- to three-hour wait at the polls.
The city is mailing out absentee ballot requests to more than 200,000 voting households. You can tear it off, fill it out, with up to two voter requests for absentee ballots per form. Then tape it and mail it. Postage is prepaid.
The mailing is costing the elections office more than $21,000, but it will make the election more controllable, according to Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland.
First Coast News decided to find out how long it would take to fill out the ballot.
The elections office gave reporter Mike Lyons the longest ballot, which happens to be at the Beaches with 22 races, three Beaches charter amendments, and 11 state constitutional amendments and we started the clock.
It's a two page ballot, 17 inches long, printed on both sides.
"We've never had a countywide four-page ballot before," said Holland.
The ballot included the presidential election, a Senate race, several local candidates to vote on, several judges up for election or reappointment. Then there were the amendments.
Lyons was seeing the amendments for the first time and read all 3,000 words. Some were quite lengthy and difficult to understand.
One amendment read, "the additional exemption is an amount equal to 50 percent of the homestead property's just value on January 1 of the year the homestead is established."
Finally Lyons finished. It took him a little more than 16 minutes to fill out the ballot. No wonder they are anticipating long lines at the polls.
Bradley Valentine, a downtown hot dog vendor, said he wishes he could vote online, but he's all for the absentee ballot.
"Just from a conscientious standpoint, why go over and have a bunch of people in line and burning fuel in the truck, this or that ... do it in the comfort of my home," said Valentine.
Senior citizen Mary Nelson said she is headed to the polls, no matter what.
"I don't care, I don't care, send us the sample ballot. I will have it marked and I will be ready to go.
"Normally I have to go to the polls but if they would mail me that ballot, I would definitely use that," Michael Hoffon said.
Lyons said, "After my ballot experience, l would definitely recommend a close look at that sample ballot ahead of time, no matter which way you vote, in person or by absentee."
First Coast News