Primary voters go to the polls in Nassau


About a third of Nassau County’s 69,107 registered voters cast ballots in Tuesday’s primary election, according to the preliminary results available from Supervisor of Elections Vicki Cannon as of Tuesday night.

In his bid to represent District 4 in Congress, Dr. Erick J. Aguilar took on incumbent John H. Rutherford, but Rutherford won handily in Nassau County with 76.59% of the votes in the unofficial results as of Tuesday night. Rutherford also won big in Duval County and will face Democrat Donna Deegan in the general election on Nov. 3.

Many of the local races on Tuesday’s ballot were universal primary contests.

In the local race to be the next superintendent of schools for Nassau County, incumbent Dr. Kathy Knight Burns held on to her office against a challenge by former principal Dale P. Braddock. Burns got 50.88% of the votes. Albert J. Wagner came in a distant third in that race.

With Cannon bowing out after this year, former state representative Janet H. Adkins grabbed 34.15% of the votes cast to win the race, barely squeaking by against County Commissioner Justin M. Taylor. Stan Bethea, the only candidate with elections office experience, came in third.

In the nonpartisan contest to be the next District 4 member of the Nassau County School Board, Cynthia “Cindy” Grooms received 55.9% of the votes in Tuesday night’s unofficial count. Rival Russell L. Johnson received 44.1%.

Challenger John Martin ousted District 1 County Commissioner Danny Leeper. Martin gained 52.25% of the ballots cast.

Jeff Gray came in over Brent Lemond for the District 3 seat on the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners. He received 52.07% of the
ballots cast, according to the unofficial results.

In a very tight three-way race to be the next county commissioner representing District 5, which encompasses Callahan and west Yulee, Klynt A. Farmer beat Anthony P. Stamps and Charlie Gressman. Farmer received 36.06% of the votes.

Attorney Miriam Rose Hill received 37.50% of the votes to win the District 1 seat on the Ocean Highway and Port Authority, over incumbent Robert Sturgess. Todd S. Ericksen came in a close third.

OHPA District 2 incumbent Danny Fullwood beat challenger Joe Francis-Zimmerman, who raked in significant contributions. Fullwood got 51.16% of the votes.

In the nonpartisan contest to be the county court judge Group 1, Republican attorneys Jenny Higginbotham Barrett and John Joseph Cascone are headed to a November runoff since neither candidate received 50% plus one vote. Barrett received 29.49% of the votes and Cascone received 25.54%. They held off Jan Carver and Harrison Wesley Poole in that contest.

Citizens say every election is important as they arrive at the polls

Many voters in Fernandina Beach said they felt safe and secure Tuesday as they arrived at polls where workers were following protocols and safeguards to ensure they are clean.

Outside, poll workers were regularly checked for fevers, and social distancing was enforced. Inside local polling stations, gloves were offered and hand sanitizer was available at every step of the voting process. Voters signed their names on an electronic pad using a disposable cotton swab. Booths where ballots are marked were distanced, with every other booth closed. All surfaces were cleaned after every vote.

At the Atlantic Recreation Center, Patti Kirschling said that she felt safe and that all precautions had been taken. Kirschling opted for voting in person instead of by mail because “if you can go to the supermarket, you can go vote.” She added that local elections are important “because it all starts locally.”

At the Sadler Road precinct, Louisa Celles said she believes it is important that her children understand how important voting is. Celles brought her children, Froy and Tiki, to the voting booth. Though she’s lived in Fernandina Beach for only a year and a half, she researched the candidates using social media and cast her vote. She said she was very impressed with the safety precautions taken at the polling place.

John Dolan Jr. said the precautions taken at the new Sadler Road precinct were “excellent,” adding that he always votes in person unless he is traveling.

At the Martin Luther King Jr. precinct, Doris Sims said she considered voting by mail but did not send her request to the Supervisor of Elections Office in time to do so. She said she was impressed with the safety precautions in place and felt safe voting there.

Chris Thompson also voted at the MLK precinct. Thompson said the precautions taken there were “fine, if you believe in it.” His 16-year-old daughter, Katie, accompanied him. While not old enough to vote, the teen said she has already preregistered.