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How will Florida election security affect First Coast elections?

The Office of Election Crimes and Security and FDLE announced the arrests of close to 20 people who allegedly committed voter fraud in the 2020 election Thursday.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A lot of people have strong opinions on the topic of voter fraud. Governor Ron DeSantis recently announced the creation of the Office of Election Crimes and Security to investigate election crimes in Florida.

That office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested 17 people and have warrants out for three others who allegedly committed voter fraud in the 2020 election, the governor announced Thursday. 

More than 11 million people cast votes in Florida in that election. 

Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan said there were several complaints of fraud in the 2020 election in Jacksonville. According to an FDLE spokesperson though, none of the arrests announced Thursday were people from Duval County. 

While the Office of Election Crimes and Security will investigate crimes in Florida, Hogan said his office will make sure Election Day runs smoothly and securely.

“I’m not looking for them to be the police to come to our rescue as it relates to maybe some issue, but they’re looking at voter fraud and are people voting twice, are people voting in two different states or multiple states," Hogan said. 

Hogan said his office does preaudits before the election to test their equipment to make sure everything works properly. They also do post audits after the election where workers choose a race and hand count the ballots.

RELATED: All registered voters in Duval will see Republicans on the primary ballot for one race - Here's why

The public is invited to watch both for transparency. Hogan said while federal law doesn't allow any uniformed officers at polling sites, there will be officers present.

“They’ll be around the area. We have a great relationship with the sheriff and he has a list of all 186 precincts and his officers will be running by from time to time. Not too close, but just making sure that things are going well," Hogan said.

Two guards are also stationed at every secured ballot intake station in the county during their operating hours, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. while early voting is open, Hogan said. 

He said the turnout at the stations is very low compared to 2020. 

Hogan added that there will be more than 50 people from the Supervisor of Elections' Office traveling from site to site Tuesday to make sure things run smoothly and there aren't any IT issues.

According to Hogan, they're projecting a 30 percent voter turnout, but he said so far, turnout has been light.

"I don’t know why people let this slide and don’t vote," he said. "They have so many ways, 14 days of early voting. They get their mail ballot 40 days before the Election Day, so there’s no excuse for not voting."

Early voting ends Sunday. Election Day is Tuesday, Aug. 23. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you're in line at seven p.m. but haven't voted yet, you will still be allowed to vote. 

RELATED: Here's where you can vote early in Duval County

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