The differences between the three candidates running for supervisor of elections are more a matter of background and experience than their stances on the issues.
Leon County voters decide between an elections technician, a politician and a criminal justice advocate in August. From early voting to voting rights for ex-cons, they all support making voting easy and convenient for all.
Mark Earley, a systems manager supervisor in the Leon County Supervisor of Elections office, said his experience and know-how sets him apart.
“I know what I’m talking about,” he said. “I know elections. I started in 1986 right after a really big problem where the supervisor of elections was removed from office. I saw firsthand what can make elections go wrong. I saw the importance of having a deep understanding of not only election law and election procedure, but elections technology and how that all interacts to make elections fail or succeed.”
Alan Williams, a four-term state representative, said, “It boils down to leadership. Earley understands the equipment. I understand the community. I have developed leadership and trust over the years. If the voters put their faith and trust in me, I will work to be their voice and to represent their values.”
As a state legislator, Williams said he is very proud of his work for election reform.
“I was most proud that my work was not partisan. I worked with Republicans and Democrats to form common sense solutions to election reform,” he said. He said he passed a bi-partisan online voter registration bill and an amendment giving Florida the most early-voting hours in the state’s history.
Tena Pate, outgoing chair of the Florida Commission on Offender Review, said that Earley’s type of experience is not the be-all end-all for the Supervisor position, “I believe you have competent people vying for this job with different and varied backgrounds that will bring something to this position that Mr. Earley doesn’t possess,” Pate said.
“I am confident in my intellect and investigative abilities,” she continued, “I think after 28 years, our elections office will benefit from being looked at with a new set of eyes. I have been an advocate for citizens’ rights for many years, served the administrations of four governors, been a trusted state leader, and have served in a non-partisan manner always protecting and advancing the rights of our citizens. I will bring that same passion to my role as supervisor of elections.”
Williams and Pate agree that while it was not illegal for the current supervisor of elections Ion Sancho to endorse Earley in June, it was not appropriate.
“Sancho is not retiring,” Williams said. “He is simply being term-limited. It was not proper for Ion to endorse Mark. The people have put their trust in Ion but that trust can’t be transferred. The supervisor should never do that. It puts a stain on this race that shouldn’t be there.”
Pate agreed, “Sancho crossed the line endorsing Early. He should be neutral. It interferes with the integrity of the process. Sancho doesn’t know my skill set. I have an award-winning team skilled in implementing changes to bring about better things. Sancho has short-changed the capabilities of Williams and myself.”
Earley responded, “My opponents are trying to paint Sancho’s endorsement as a bad thing. It really isn’t. Ion has been a hero of democracy. But it’s not just Ion. 16 other current or former elections supervisors throughout Florida have endorsed me because they know I really know how to do this job.”
Our neighborhood was littered with Tena Pate signs about 6 weeks ago. Everywhere you looked, there was a Tena Pate sign. About two weeks ago, everywhere there was a Tena Pate sign, two Alan Williams signs showed up. Magically, in the last week, all the Tena Pate signs have gone missing, leaving only the Alan Williams signs. Maybe it’s just a coincidence.
Governor Scott should step up and restore order to the out of control rampant illegal abuses of three elected officials in this city, county, and region who DO NOT LIVE IN THEIR DISTRICTS, yet are elected in spite of not living in their respective districts. They are using their business and mamas addresses to skirt the law. You have to give Alan Williams credit for taking it to an entire new level and for the gall for skirting an election law – then running – for the Supervisors of Elections office.
The ignorance of Alan Williams comes through if he was accurately quoted as saying Sancho was term limited and not retiring. There are no term limits for Constitutional Offices, for which the Supervisor of Elections is, but Mr. Williams was term limited in the Florida House. Of course, if he knew election law at all, he would know that, but having witnessed him place his capaign signs illegally in public right of ways, I guess the laws relevant to elections are outside his knowledge.
Why has the Supervisors of Elections Office allowed THREE officials to run who do not live in their districts. Does the Governor ultimately need to step in and address this out of control practice in this jurisdiction?
The job is highly technical, requiring exhibited expertise In a number of areas of the law, in-depth understanding of voting processes and voter education. The learning curve takes years. It is no place for amateurs, the risk is just too great. It is not a place for politicians to occupy for a few years before they run for something else. It is a career position, not a stop on the way to something else.
agree. Earley has earned the position.
I will not vote for Alan Williams BECAUSE he is a POLITICIAN. I will not vote for Early because of Ion Sancho’s action to openly endorse Early, which is not ethical and is exactly what the president is doing, which is unethical. I will, instead, vote for Tena Pate and I will trust her to do a good job as Supervisor of Elections. Thank you, Tallahassee Reports, for doing the research work since I was unable to locate this information myself. Good reporting!
Williams you have violated election laws the entire time you have “represented ” your district. You also show your lack of any knowledge of the supervisors job by not putting up a legal campaign sign yet.
Your a clown sir!
If you liked Ion Sancho’s performance as elections supervisor, keep in mind that Mark Earley was trained by him.
Is that a problem? Not being facetious, I am asking a serious question.
He is a Democrat, what did you expect? The rules and laws do not apply to them. No one will enforce laws against a politician. They only apply to the little people.
I don’t trust Williams. This should not be a political position, so the easy choice is the person with the job experience.
Remember when Mr. Williams was assisting in getting people into the Capitol ILLEGALLY during the Dream Defenders’ occupation?https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2013/07/24/behind-the-wire-exposing-the-obama-coordinated-astroturf-campaign-ongoing-in-florida-tallahassee-governors-office-dream-defenders/
The group that was “fornicating” in the Capitol chapel? I didn’t even hear about that one.
I think the following paste from a news paper clipping says all anyone needs to know about Alan Williams and his suitability as suoervisor of elections.
“Florida State Rep. Alan Williams (D-Tallahassee) appears to be violating the Florida Constitution’s residency requirements for state legislators, public records show.
Even though Williams claims to live in a small home with an elderly woman in the district he represents, numerous public records show Williams and his wife own a large house outside his Leon county district. Williams claims to live in both homes simultaneously.
Article III, Section 15(c) of the Florida Constitution which states, “Each legislator shall be at least twenty-one years of age, an elector and resident of the district from which elected and shall have resided in the state for a period of two years prior to election.”
Here is a guy who begins every sentence with “when I was in the legislature…” but doesn’t mention he was there illegally. And now he wants to be in charge of the election process. You are kidding, right?