Fall Newsletter

October 2023

Message from Wesley

Happy Fall!

We take pride in ensuring that all eligible voters have the opportunity to cast their ballot in an easy and secure manner. With the recent upgrade of our voting technology, we are confident that in-person voting will be a smooth and seamless process for all voters in the upcoming 2024 election cycle.

Our team has been hard at work, processing petitions. One of the methods for proposing amendments to the Florida Constitution is through the initiative petition process, and since January, we have processed nearly 75,000 of these petitions.

The upcoming local primary election on August 20, 2024 already has a number of candidates who have submitted their qualifying paperwork. To see a complete list of all the candidates who have filed, please visit www.votemarion.gov/filed-candidates.

We encourage all eligible voters to participate in the upcoming elections and to ensure that your voter information is current. If you have recently changed your name, address, or signature, then please update your voter registration. You can easily do this by submitting a new Florida Voter Registration Application or by going online at RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov.

Yours in service,

Wesley Wilcox, CERA

Marion County Supervisor of Elections

2023 City of Ocala General Election Recap

Official Election Results

The Ocala General Election was held on September 19, 2023, to elect City Council member for District 2. Out of the 37,779 registered voters, only 7.57% participated in the election, with a total of 2,860 ballots cast. In 2022, the Ocala City Council approved an ordinance allowing early voting for city elections. 59 voters used this option, 2,041 voted by mail, and 766 voted on Election Day. To view official election results, visit www.VoteMarion.Gov/ElectionResults.

Due to recent legislation, all vote-by-mail requests expired in 2022. Any voter who would like to receive a mail ballot in the 2024 election cycle must submit a new request. Our office is sending a vote-by-mail ballot renewal reminder at the end of this month to voters who previously voted-by-mail. Requests can be made online at www.VoteMarion.Gov/mbrs, by phone at 352-620-3290, or in person at the Marion County Elections Office during normal business hours. Voters will be required to provide their Florida driver’s license number, Florida ID card number, or the last four digits of their social security number.

Request a Vote-by-Mail Ballot

FDLE Arrests Paid Petition Circulator for Election Fraud

On August 28, Maria Guadalupe Bautista, a paid petition circulator from Ocala, was arrested on 16 counts of fraudulent use of personal identification information. The arrest came after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) received complaints of widespread fraud related to initiative petitions for constitutional amendment for the Limited Authorization of Casino Gaming. The investigation revealed that Bautista submitted 191 fraudulent petition forms, 16 of which contained forged signatures, including two submitted on behalf of deceased individuals and two submitted for the Supervisor of Elections and his wife.

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Supervisor Wilcox inducted into Election Center

Hall of Fame

Marion County's Supervisor of Elections, Wesley Wilcox, CERA, was recently inducted into the Election Center Hall of Fame at the National Election Officials Conference in Orlando, Florida on August 28th. The Election Center, also known as the National Association of Election Officials, aims to promote and improve democracy, providing better service to the public, voters, taxpayers, and government. The Election Center boasts a membership of over 1,730 nationwide and is the largest organization in America for state and local election and voter registration administrators, as well as election vendors. The Hall of Fame award is bestowed upon exceptional individuals in the elections profession, and Wilcox expressed his gratitude towards the voters of Marion County for their support and trust in the county's elections team.

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Seeking Election Workers for the 2024 Elections

Serving as an election worker is crucial in ensuring that our democracy runs smoothly. We are currently seeking workers to join our team. Some of the responsibilities of an election worker include setting up polling places, checking in voters, and monitoring voting equipment. It's a great way to get involved in your community, earn some extra money, and contribute to the electoral process. Apply at www.VoteMarion.Gov/Election-Workers for the 2024 elections.

Marion County Supervisor of Elections Honored with Communicator of the Year Award

Marion County Supervisor of Elections, Wesley Wilcox, and his team are proud to have been awarded the institutional Wilton F. Martin Communicator of the Year (COTY) award by the FPRA Ocala Chapter. The COTY awards, established in 2005, acknowledge individuals and organizations that have demonstrated excellence in strategic communications, contributing to an improved quality of life in Marion County.

Supervisor Wilcox and his team established an FSE public relations workgroup to develop communications and resources, combat misinformation, increase voter confidence in elections, and position election officials as the trusted source of election information.

According to one of the awards judges, "In modern-day politics, effective communication, especially clear communication, is critical. Wesley Wilcox and the Marion County Supervisor of Elections team can be proud of their success in sharing current election laws and protocols, ensuring that voters are kept informed and up-to-date, and enabling them to cast their ballots and make their voices heard."

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Office Happenings

In May, Supervisor Wilcox was elected as the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC) Executive Committee Chairperson. The EI-ISAC is a partnership of dedicated election officials and cybersecurity professionals working to ensure election integrity.

In May, our office hosted an Ocala candidate workshop. Participants gained valuable insights into campaign finance, the qualifying process, Florida election law, and more.

During April and May, our office conducted our 7th Annual High School Voter Registration Challenge to provide voter education and register eligible seniors. A total of 323 applications were submitted. North Marion High School, winner of this year's challenge, received 72.2% participation rate.

In June, our Information Technology Director, Christopher Kyle, celebrated his 20th work anniversary with the Marion County Supervisor of Elections! Thank you, Chris, for your dedication to our team and service to the voters of Marion County.

In June, our team participated in the Marion County Annual PTSD Awareness 2.2 mile walk at the McPherson Campus to support our community. Together we can help END THE STIGMA!

In July, Supervisor Wilcox attended the EAC Local Leadership Council (LLC) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, to discuss election innovation, the 2024 elections, and more. The Board comprises 100 local election officials, two from each state’s local election official association.

In August, your elections team hosted a school supply donation drive to benefit Marion County students in need! Overall, more than 17,500 items were collected this year, an increase of 1,700 from 2022. Thank you to everyone who participated in Marion County's Mission Bus Brigade.

In September, our outreach team visited the College of Central Florida for Constitution Day to register eligible students to vote and prepare them for the upcoming elections.

In October, our office hosted the Ocala Metro Chamber and Economic Partnership Leadership of Ocala/Marion government session. Supervisor Wilcox provided a guided tour of our voting operations, followed by a panel discussion with Marion County's elected officials.

Election Dates

Presidential Preference Primary Election

Voter Registration/Party Change Deadline: February 20, 2024

Election Day: March 19, 2024 - Polls open 7 AM to 7 PM

Primary Election

Voter Registration/Party Change Deadline: July 22, 2024

Election Day: August 20, 2024 - Polls open 7 AM to 7 PM

General Election

Voter Registration Deadline: October 7, 2024

Election Day: November 5, 2024 - Polls open 7 AM to 7 PM

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