A.A.S. Business Administration – Management
University of Central Florida
B.A. Business Administration
Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.)
with specializations in:
• Local Government Management of Sustainable Communities
• Applied Project Management
• Human Resource Management (Oct 2016)
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?
Of course, media sources (news, radio, bloggers, social networking, etc.) are useful ways of disseminating information to the public. We should use the daily interactions that happen in person, by phone, or email, as an opportunity to communicate the message. There is also a variety of correspondence generated daily to citizens, so outgoing mail is another placement for this message. Outreach programs at local high schools and other venues are the perfect platform to encourage future voters to utilize the new online system. And, I would love to partner up with community organizations to get the word out to the different segments of our community.
If elected, I will update the agency website. Other county agencies have updated their sites recently and the elections office is behind the curve. There is a need for a new design that is much more user-friendly, and communicates information clearly. Besides website usability, mobile apps are useful in sharing important news and engaging voters by giving them easy access to answers and information specific to them. Providing clear and accessible data online is critical when web sources are the first stop to get information in today’s world.
Another objective of mine is to communicate to citizens in the languages they speak. It is important we recognize our county’s diversity and reflect that in our communication policies to ensure that citizens, taxpayers, and voters receive information critical to their right to vote.
What are the most important challenges facing the Supervisors of Elections? How do you propose to address these challenges?
One challenge facing the SOE is restoring public trust. Florida already has a negative reputation in regards to elections, and the incumbent has had his share of issues over the years. Just this year, during the primary election in March, there were two major problems that arose—a ballot shortage the morning of the election at polls in 52 precincts, and the distribution of worthless payroll checks to over 1,400 poll workers.
An incoming priority is to address the integrity of SOE activities and its workforce. Citizens need to trust the electoral process to feel comfortable participating in it. I will ensure the reliability of every process to minimize mistakes, especially those that cost citizens their right to be heard. For example, ballots are now precinct-specific so the SOE is dealing with hundreds of ballot styles during some elections. I would implement a set of internal controls that would require layers of verification to ensure that our ballot numbers are correct from the start of the ordering process, to central receiving of ballot orders, to distributing and receiving ballots at poll sites.
Other initiatives will aim to deliver reliable, consistent, and timely support services and demonstrate respect for the public interest by working efficiently, spending tax dollars responsibly, and working at the highest ethical standards. I want my neighbors to feel confident that when they come to the polls, they will receive their ballot and their voice will be heard.
What policies or administrative processes would you support to improve voter registration and voting in Orange County?
Online voter registration begins next year, and I believe that will have a positive impact on voter registration rates, especially among the younger segments of our population that are currently underrepresented.
With over 50% of ballots now being cast either through early voting or vote-by-mail methods, I would like to ramp up voter education. For example, vote-by-mail ballots (formerly absentee ballots) can now be sent back with no postage costs to the voter. Constituents need to better understand their options so they can decide what best suits their needs. Although more voters are using these methods, many still doubt their votes count. Increased voter education will help address voters’ uncertainty about the legitimacy of these methods.
Voting policies are primarily enacted and enforced at the state level, and although Florida does not allow same-day registration and voting, I would support this policy. It is a proven method of increasing voter turnout already used in 13 states plus the District of Columbia, with two other states who have passed the law but not yet implemented it.
Nurturing customer relationships and excellent voting experiences will improve confidence in the elections process and the reputation of SOE office. One of my goals is to improve and standardize training for all support services staff, including poll workers. This will allow staff to provide assistance to voters that is consistent, timely, and effective.