The Right to Vote

Elections officials safeguard the foundation of democracy



(page 2 of 3)

 

Lawrence Davidson

Chris Moore, assistant supervisor of elections

Chris Moore, assistant supervisor of elections, picks up with more of the myriad tasks performed in the election’s office.

“What do we do the rest of the time (after election day)? We get that a lot. We do a lot of voter registration. We do maintenance on our equipment. We do maintenance on our voter rolls because we are responsible for managing the voter registration roll,” he said.

This year’s statewide redistricting of congressional seats meant remapping, because new lines were drawn, splitting Leon County between Congressional District 2 and the reconfigured Congressional District 5, that now runs from Gadsden County to Jacksonville. About 115,000 voters got new registration cards mailed to them in May, most reflecting a change brought about by this redistricting. 

In 2016, “I think we have more local candidates than we can remember ever having,” said Moore. The supervisor’s office is responsible for qualifying candidates — they either pay a fee or present petitions, with signatures that have to be verified individually — and then collect and monitor financial reports throughout the election season.

Lawrence Davidson

Materials and supplies essential to conducting elections include precinct signage, folding tables, voter registration books and, in the estimation of Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho, provision for permanent paper trail. 

 

In the Aug. 30 primary election, ballots had to be designed for each political party — Republican, Democrat or No Party Affiliation — as well as the specific congressional, city, county, school board and special districts included in each precinct. In all, that meant about 450 different ballot styles were created for the vote. (November’s general election will require only a third that number of ballots because party affiliation doesn’t matter — everybody can vote in all races.)

One new piece of technology introduced in 2016 is the electronic poll “book” — that little card skimmer that replaces the six or seven cumbersome paper books used at each precinct in years past. A simple swipe of a Florida driver’s license or ID card is all it takes to check in. There are about 10 other forms of identification that can suffice to get a ballot, the trick is to find a combination of IDs that include a photo and signature. Interestingly, while a voter ID card is good for finding out where the precinct is and what districts you live in, it cannot be used as identification.

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