JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Some state lawmakers and activists said voter suppression is happening in Duval County. They're concerns are about the number of early voting locations and communication to residents. Election officials told First Coast News there isn't any voter suppression, but a misunderstanding.
Florida Democrats recently asked the Department of Justice to investigate voter suppression in the state. Something Representative Angie Nixon believes is happening in the county. She talked to First Coast News on the phone.
"We just want our community to have a voice," Nixon said.
The state lawmaker said her constituents have called her office about the early voting sites. Usually, there is about 20. At last check, there are 15 early voting locations for the upcoming municipal election. Nixon mentioned how resident express frustration for any election rule changes. She said her constituents are told new information at the last minute. The District 14 Democrat said she wants Edward Waters University and the University of North Florida to return as voting sites.
"It just gets very frustrating and disheartening when you see people trying to continually move the goal post," Nixon added.
To Nixon, the problem stems from the Supervisor of Election in Duval County. Mike Hogan denies any claims of voter suppression. He told First Coast News there wasn't a need to use every early voting location.
"Our data is all out there. It proves we're not suppressing any vote in Duval County," Hogan said. "In fact, we're probably the strongest in getting people to the polls and having locations to vote."
Hogan mentioned how Duval County has the largest early voting sites in the state of Florida, per capita. He mentioned how there are specific rules for voting locations; it requires the same number of voters going to a location. Plus, the voting site has to be a specific building. For example, a public library.
"Right now, our highest concentration is in the Northwest quadrant," Hogan said.
To Representative Nixon, the voters in her district are left behind.
"We're not just making things up, this is some people's life," Nixon said. "Folks feel like their voting is being suppressed. He [Mike Hogan] should address it, not go 'oh, its not happening.'"
It's not to late to register to vote. The next election is February 22.