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Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland

Holland says special congressional election couldn’t happen before March

By David Chapman, Staff Writer

The earliest a special election could happen for the redrawn district held by U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown would be March and May, according to Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland.

Holland serves as president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections and issued a statement on its behalf Friday.

Holland’s statement said to ensure accuracy and transparency, a special congressional election can’t be combined with the elections currently underway. The primary is Aug. 26 and the general election is Nov. 4.

“To do so would risk compromising the integrity (of) these elections, create mass voter confusion or possible fraud, and violate elections laws,” Holland said.

The group was responding to an Aug. 1 court order by Circuit Judge Terry Lewis in Leon County. He ruled two congressional districts must be redrawn because they helped Republicans in elections. One of those districts is represented by Brown.

The maps were redrawn and the Legislature approved them Monday.

In his ruling, Lewis directed the supervisors group to work with the secretary of state to present a proposed special election schedule in the event a map was in place no later than Aug. 21.

Before any special election could take place, redistricting would have to happen, according to the supervisors’ response. The earliest that could start would be Dec. 18, the deadline for all precincts to finalize results from the Nov. 4 general election.

“Nothing could happen before that deadline,” Holland said Friday.

And, he said, that doesn’t account for any possible challenges or litigation to the new maps. A hearing is scheduled Wednesday on the new maps.

When that starting point ultimately is established, state law says the primary election could be 77 days later. The general election would be 147 days from that starting point.

If Dec. 18 was the official start, Holland said the special election could probably happen sometime in March and general election in May. If timing worked, it is possible they could be combined with the 2015 city elections on March 24 and May 19.

If the congressional election is not combined with city contests, Holland said it would cost about $500,000.

 

dchapman@baileypub.com

@writerchapman

(904) 356-2466

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