Jacksonville Sheriff candidate TK Waters is speaking out after a report suggested that he’s improperly registered to vote.
“Waters registered to vote in Nocatee. But he doesn’t live there,” read the headline from The Tributary, the local news source that catalyzed the upcoming Special Election by revealing former Sheriff Mike Williams lived outside the county earlier this year.
In a statement from his campaign, the former JSO chief of investigations is lambasting the reporting as a “factually inaccurate smear.”
“First of all, my wife and I have lived in Duval County for nearly a decade and I moved to Jacksonville in 1991. To imply otherwise is a factually inaccurate smear,” Waters said, saying that family tragedy led to a clerical oversight.
“Following the tragic death of our son in our home, my wife and I made the difficult decision to move and began renting in other locations. In between moves earlier this year I inadvertently kept my voter registration at a previous address, though I was not required to change it, until my permanent home, under construction, is complete and ready to move in to.”
Waters’ son passed away in 2018.
The Tributary reported that “Waters registered in the same precinct as his wife. She registered at a Nocatee home owned by a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office sergeant.”
“The home sits next to the Duval County border with St. Johns County in Precinct 1102. It’s as far from Jacksonville’s Northside as possible within the county, and voting in Precinct 1102 would mean Waters and his wife were voting in different congressional, legislative and local elections than they would be qualified to vote for on the Northside,” the report added.
The Secretary of State’s office, contacted by the Tributary, told reporter Andrew Pantazi that voter registrations must be “at the address where they live,” citing Florida Statutes Chapter 104 in defense of that assertion.
The 11th-hour residency rift offers a potential narrative complication for a race where Waters has appeared to be the front-runner going into Tuesday.
Polling from the University of North Florida forecasts a runoff between Democrat Lakesha Burton and Waters, with each of them getting around 40% in the survey. Waters, the sole Republican running against four Democrats, held a substantial cash advantage as of Aug. 5 reports to Florida’s Division of Elections.