Candidate Name
Bill Cowles
Profile Picture
Bill Cowles

Bill Cowles

Candidate Office
Orange County Supervisor of Elections
Party Affiliation
Current Occupation
Orange County Supervisor of Elections
Educational Background (limit 75 words)
Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from UCF – 1976

CERA – Certified Election Registration Administrator – 2014
Program administered by Auburn University for the national organization, Election Center; continuing education courses annually.

Ethics Training – Yearly

Civic Organizations (limit 75 words)
Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections; Member, Past President
Election Center; Member
International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Elections Officials, and Treasurers; Member, Past President
Central Florida Council Boy Scouts of America; Eagle Scout; Board Member
Kiwanis Club of North Orlando; Member, Past President
UCF Alumni Association Governmental Affairs Board; Member
UCF College of Public Administration Advisory Board; Member
Tiger Bay of Central Florida; Member
The League of Women Voters of Orange County; Member
Goodwill Industries; Former Board Member
Quest Church; Elder; Budget Committee Chair; Staffing Committee Chair
Federal Elections Assistance Commission; Board of Advisors, Former Member
Online voter registration begins in 2017. What can your office do to ensure that voters get the information they need to complete their forms correctly?
Online voter registration begins in the fall of 2017. The online process will help ensure that applications are completed in full as all mandatory fields must be completed before submission. The office will offer training to Third Party Voter Registration Organizations to ensure their understanding of the system. Our website will provide information and a direct link to the application. We will promote the use of the system through media sources including our Facebook page and during all of our community outreach activities.
What are the most important challenges facing the Supervisors of Elections? How do you propose to address these challenges?
Maintaining the independence of this constitutional office from outside influences is currently one of the most important challenges. We continually strive to operate the Elections Office in a professional and non-partisan manner. Our office policies and procedures are created to ensure that they comply with the laws, rules, charters, and ordinances, involving elections, of federal, state, county, and municipal governments. We protect the rights of all eligible citizens to participate in the electoral process. The position of Supervisor of Elections should remain accountable directly to the people.

Another important challenge is keeping up with the rapid growth of Orange County and its impact on elections. We are constantly evaluating the areas of new growth to ensure that voters are provided a positive voting experience every election. For the 2016 election cycle, we added 25 new polling places for a total of 247 and opened 5 new early voting sites for a total of 17 sites. This creates the need for the recruitment of additional poll workers to accommodate the increase in the number of sites.

An ongoing challenge is to keep up with new technology and its implementation while working within budgetary constraints.

What policies or administrative processes would you support to improve voter registration and voting in Orange County?
We look forward to the online voter registration system. We feel this will make the registration process easier and more accessible to all. Additionally, it will help eliminate errors, creating a more accurate voter registration file statewide.

I continue to work on legislative changes that I believe would enhance the voting process. I believe that Florida should not be a closed primary state. I would encourage the Florida Legislature to follow other states that have implemented the “Top Two” system where all qualified candidates are in the primary election and the top two go to the general election in November. All eligible voters would then have a say in who will represent them.

I also support the concept of Vote Centers that would be placed strategically throughout the county to ensure the convenience for all to vote. This would combine Early Voting and Election Day. Voting would end at 7 PM on Election Day. Voters would no longer have to go to an assigned precinct, but could choose their most convenient location. Vote Centers would help reduce cost and make the voting experience more efficient.

I would encourage the expansion of Vote by Mail to include special elections for candidates. This would be more convenient for the voters and more cost effective than opening the polls for special elections. Additionally, a voter should be able to request permanent status for Vote by Mail if they choose. These ideas would all require legislative changes.

Campaign Email
Campaign Website
Campaign Telephone
(407) 298-1873