Duties & Responsibilities
The Supervisor of Elections administers all federal, state, county, municipal and special district elections in Hillsborough County in accordance with the Florida Election Code, the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA), the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and federal voting rights laws.
Apart from general administration and office functions, the duties of the elections office include the following:
Voter Registration & Database Management
Before anyone can vote in the elections we conduct, they have to be properly registered. It's our responsibility to process all voter registration applications received from qualified Florida residents, and also to educate Hillsborough County residents about registering to vote. To that end, you'll find us all around the county at events and in public spaces helping people register to vote and update their voter registration. We also visit high schools and colleges and attend naturalization ceremonies to help those who have just become eligible to register to vote.
We issue Voter Information Cards to all newly registered voters, and reissue those cards when there are changes to a voter's registration information or polling place.
Maintaining our voter database is a huge undertaking and one we take great care with. We regularly update our street index to ensure even the newest residential addresses are assigned to the correct precincts, and we receive National Change of Address notifications from the U.S. Post Office. We also update the database to keep track of changes in voter information, requests for Vote By Mail ballots, and voter history.
Running elections in a county of our size is a massive undertaking. We hold countywide elections, as well as municipal elections for the City of Tampa, Plant City and Temple Terrace, and work with the county and municipalities periodically on reapportionment, redistricting and drawing precinct boundaries.
To prepare for each election, we store, maintain and test a lot of machinery, including state of the art equipment for assembling and sorting Vote By Mail mailers, ballot printers, ballot tabulation equipment, ADA-compliant ballot marking devices for disabled voters, electronic voter check-in tablets, laptops and cell phones.
We also have to design and proof ballots for each election, following the guidelines set by Florida's election laws. Because voters get different ballots based on where they live and their party (during Primary Elections), we often have to design more than 1,000 different ballots for an election. We then provide voters with personalized sample ballots (printed and online), so that voters will know in advance exactly what they'll be voting on.
We provide voters with three options for voting: Vote By Mail, Early Voting and Election Day. Each election gets underway well before Election Day, because we mail ballots to military and overseas voters 45 days in advance. The most obvious election duties we carry out include verifying all signatures on Vote By Mail ballots, identifying polling places, recruiting and training poll workers, staffing voting locations, and tabulating, canvassing and certifying election results. But did you know we also conduct supervised absentee voting at assisted living facilities? Or that we work with disability organizations to ensure our polling places are accessible and that our poll workers are trained on etiquette and sensitivity with respect to voters with disabilities?
Communication is another key part of running elections. Florida election laws stipulate that certain legal notices and instructions be published and posted for each election. In addition, we put out press releases, update our website regularly, send out newsletters and use Facebook and Twitter to make sure voters know when, where and how to vote in every election.
Providing Services to Candidates, Committees and Political Parties
There are laws, of course, that govern who and what can appear on our ballots. In accordance with Florida's election laws, candidates for county, district and special district offices file and qualify for candidacy with our office. During countywide elections, which include seats in community development districts, we often work with more than 100 candidates.
We also receive the forms and financial reports that candidates, committees and political parties are required to file. And
our office verifies and certifies all petition signatures for candidates and ballot initiatives.