Member Submission: St. Johns County race for county sheriff

July 3, 2020, 2:03 pm

Another twist to trying to thwart the election process is taking place in the St. Johns County race for county sheriff.  At the last minute on the final day for filing, a Democratic candidate with no law enforcement experience filed as a write in candidate. This means that only registered Republicans can vote in the primary election which will essentially decide the sheriff’s election.  Whoever wins the Republican primary will face the write-in candidate in the general election. This shuts out 50,000 plus registered Democratic voters. Odds of an unqualified write- in candidate winning are small. The incumbent sheriff is not running for re-election. It is important to understand the platforms of the Republican candidates because one of them will increase targeting of alleged sexual predators with more online stings.

Both candidates are qualified with law enforcement experience.  Candidate Robert Hardwick is currently St. Augustine Beach Chief of Police with both military and law enforcement experience. Candidate Christopher Strickland has been with the Sheriff’s office for nearly 30 years. He has announced that as part of his platform, he wants to add detectives and equipment to bolster the Sheriff’s Office internet Crimes Against Children Unit, which targets sexual predators.  This probably means that there will be more “stings” and “bait and switch” efforts that border on entrapment. There have been several articles posted on the FAC newsletters recently to outline the harm that this causes and that results in prison terms and a lifetime on the registry when many are not able to afford the legal fees to fight this entrapment. The money for more detectives and equipment could be allocated to other more useful efforts to protect children than to this.

Although registered citizens are unfortunately unable to vote, many of their family and friends are eligible. Those already registered as Republicans can vote for sheriff in the primary.  If a person is registered as a Democrat, they will only be eligible to vote in this primary by changing their affiliation to Republican.  This can be done for this primary only and then switched back. It is free and easy to do online by going to www.vote sjc.com and click on My Voter Status. The deadline in St. Johns County to change the party affiliation is July 20. The primary is scheduled for August 18. It is important that voters study the platforms of both candidates and as many votes as possible are cast for this critical law enforcement position.

 

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Author: Florida Action Committee
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The opinions expressed within posts and comments are solely those of each author, and are not necessarily those of Women Against Registry.
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