Spring 2021
Your quarterly news & updates from the Supervisor of Elections Office
From Supervisor Chambless

“The unity of freedom has never relied on uniformity of opinion.”

John F. Kennedy

Next month the Olympic Games are finally set to begin in Tokyo, after dealing with a yearlong postponement due to COVID. On the surface, the Olympics and Elections seem to have nothing in common. However, look a little closer and the similarities are obvious.

Much like Olympic athletes, in Elections we're only judged on one performance. It doesn't matter if the other 364 days we are perfect, if there's a mistake on Election Day, we're done. That kind of pressure can be incredibly nerve-wracking.

But, like Olympic athletes, we don't start training a month before the big day. And we'd never show up the day of competition and hope for the best. A successful election requires intense preparation- the real work begins long before Election Day.

While "off" years don't receive the attention that election years do, they are just as important. It's a time to review changes to election law, hone our skills, attend professional education classes, strategize and reorganize in preparation for the next year.

By the time a gymnast steps in front of the judges, she's practiced her routine thousands of times and performed it endlessly in her head. Likewise, by Election Day, we've tested and retested equipment, held training classes, discussed scenarios, developed contingency plans, and reviewed every step over and over again. Confidence comes from knowing you've done everything possible to be prepared.

Many people don't realize the hard work that goes into each election. They may never know the effort that goes into maintaining accurate voter registration, coding the ballot, preparing the materials, and training over 500 Election Workers.

Instead, they only see the knowledgeable Election Worker and office staff, the clean polling location and updated equipment, and the iconic "I Voted" sticker. Much like those Olympic hopefuls, we know a "successful" Election Day hinges on the thousands of hours that happen behind the scenes. While it may not be glamourous, the training, cleaning, organizing, and strategizing are what lay the foundation for us to continue to hold fair, accurate, and secure elections again and again.

News & Updates
Scholarship Winner

The Florida Supervisors of Elections (FSE) announced its 2021 winners of three $1200 scholarships, including Emily McCarthy of Clay County!
Emily attends Florida State University and is a double major in Media/Communications and International Affairs, with additional concentrations in Public Administration and Spanish, and has earned two academic certifications in Emergency Management and Intelligence Policy. Aside from her impressive academic achievements, Supervisor Chambless noted Emily’s commitment beyond the classroom, as she’s earned high praise from those who’ve worked closely with her. Emily’s compassion, strong values, and discipline are qualities that set her apart.
"I am beyond excited and proud to represent Clay County as their winner for the Florida Supervisors of Elections scholarship. I would like to thank all of my teachers from Clay County to Florida State University for giving me an incredible education, the Florida Supervisors of Elections for this generous award that will help me further my educational experiences, and my parents, Pete and Karen McCarthy, for always pushing me to work hard and do my best." 

The FSE awards three scholarships state-wide each year to junior or senior students majoring in Political Science, Public or Business Administration, or Journalism/Mass Communications. Students must attend full-time, be a Florida resident, and be registered to vote.

Senate Bill 90

Senate Bill 90 (SB 90) was signed into law by Governor DeSantis in May 2021. There are several changes that voters should be aware of:

Vote by Mail ballots may be requested for a specific election, or for all elections through the next General Election cycle.

If you already have Vote by Mail ballots ordered, then you are set up until the 2022 General Election.

After 2022, you'll need to reorder them, but if you check the box on your Vote by Mail envelope (near your signature), we'll keep sending them to you.

If you're requesting a Vote by Mail ballot, you'll need to provide your FL Driver's License or Identification Card number, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.

Drop boxes will only be available at Early Voting sites during Early Voting hours, and at the Elections Office during office hours.

In-state address changes may be done over the phone, with a signed written note, online, or on a Voter Registration Application. You must provide your FL Driver's License or Identification Card number, or the last four digits of your SSN.

All other changes must be made on a Voter Registration form.

Election Information
Upcoming 2022 Election Dates

Municipal Super Tuesday- April 12, 2022

Primary Election- August 23, 2022

General Election- November 8, 2022
Unsure if you're eligible to cast a ballot in the upcoming elections? Visit us
online to see!

Need to Register to Vote?
If you're new to Florida, or have never been registered to vote, now's the time!

Registering to vote only takes a few minutes, you can even do it online! Or pick up a paper registration form at any public library, Tax Collector's offices, or our office in Green Cove Springs.

We encourage all voters to check their status and make any changes or updates prior to voting.

Update your Signature
Handwriting changes over time. If you have noticed a change in your handwriting, and particularly your signature, please update your signature with the Elections Office. It's important that we have your current signature on file because it's used to verify your Vote by Mail ballot and/or candidate and initiative petitions. If your signature has changed, you may update it at any time by submitting a new Voter Registration Application.

Signature updates can be made at any time, but must be received before Vote by Mail ballots are canvassed in order to be accepted for an election. (F.S. 98.077)

Outreach Events
High School Registration
Each year, the Elections Office visits every high school in order to give students the opportunity to register to vote. Due to COVID-19, though, this year's registration drive was conducted completely online.

With 135 new voters, Oakleaf High School is the winner of our 2021 High School Registration Drive! Awesome job Knights!

A huge thank you goes out to all of our participating high schools and their staff and students.

SSYRA Election

The Sunshine State Young Readers Awards (SSYRA) Election is one of our favorite Outreach events. SSYRA is a statewide program aimed at encouraging students to read independently.

Students who read three or more SSYRA books then have the opportunity to vote in a statewide election for their favorite book.

In previous years, we've visited schools to let students vote in person. COVID prevented that, but we were able to hold a virtual election with online voting and a video instead. We appreciate all the teachers and students who voted!
Clay County Fair

Without a doubt, one of the most popular events in Clay County is the Agricultural Fair. From April 1-11, a record number 148,000 people passed through the Fairgrounds! With hundreds of vendors and food stands, 4-H/FFA competitions, an art show, and nightly concerts- including Vanilla Ice, JJ Grey and Mofro, and the Curt Towne Band, plus much more!

The Elections booth showcased the history of voting! We had so much fun talking to our voters and answering questions. Thanks to our amazing volunteers who helped get new residents registered and passed out election information.

We appreciate all the hard work the Fair organizers put in to create such a memorable event. Even Governor DeSantis and his family came out on opening day to enjoy the Fair! Every year the event seems to get better and better! We're looking forward to participating in next year's Fair!

We celebrated Memorial Day at RiverFest in Green Cove Springs. The event was held in Spring Park with over 100 food trucks and craft vendors, live music and entertainment. The day began with a ceremony to honor our military veterans and ended with a fantastic fireworks display! The Elections Office had a great time celebrating, meeting new residents, and giving Clay voters the chance to update their registration information and ask questions. A big thank you to our volunteers: Jerry Lightner and Sue Terrell for helping us out. What an awesome way to kick off our summer!
Around the Office
Voter Services

Now that Election Season is over, our Voter Services team has been improving our voter rolls with the data that has come from the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC).

We've also been working on streamlining our procedures and revising our notes to reflect legislative changes. In between, we've taken part in educational seminars and online learning. Our goal is always to improve our efficiency and be as knowledgeable as possible.

We're starting to have candidates file for upcoming offices, which means that 2022 isn't too far away. Though it may be an "off" year, it doesn't mean we have any less work. We've learned that preparation and diligence are keys to holding successful elections!
Elections Services

Many people don't realize the work that takes place in between elections. Off years give us the chance to perform maintenance, clean and reorganize our warehouse and workspaces.

With new legislation, this time is also spent reviewing procedures and ensuring materials and training guides are updated. There are leases for polling locations that must be renewed, equipment to be upgraded or replaced, and vendors and resources to be researched and ordered.

This is also the time we focus on staff training and education. Whether we are meeting in person or online, it's a great chance to expand our knowledge, learn new skills, and collaborate with other Elections Offices.

Even in a non-election year, there's not much down time!
Election Workers

Election Workers are the backbone of democracy. Clay County Election Workers are highly trained individuals who serve their community with great pride. We thank you for all your hard work!

With a historic 2020 Election Season behind us, Stacey, our Election Worker Coordinator is busy updating our training materials and classes.

Starting at the end of July, we'll be holding several Practice Makes Perfect Labs. These classes give our seasoned Election Workers the chance to practice on the equipment, review the training, and become more comfortable with the procedures. If you're interested, keep an eye out for the invitation!

In September, Stacey will begin Election Worker Orientation, so if you know someone who enjoys working with the public and you feel they would be a great Election Worker, please tell them to visit our website to fill out an application. 2022 will be here before we know it!

Happy Birthday

Marti........... 3/7
Lynn........... 3/11
Magy.......... 3/28
Holly........... 4/14
Jill............... 5/31
Happy Anniversary

Leslie............. 9 years*
Anthony.......... 3 years

*Denotes full-time employment