In an effort to help you make informed decisions during the General Election, ABC Action News has reached out to dozens of candidates running for office. The following statements have been submitted to ABC Action News by the candidate. Every candidate was given the same set of questions. These are their responses in his/her own words.
Name: Julie Marcus
Office: Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections
Current employment and professional history – Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections (appointed May 2019); Pinellas Supervisor of Elections office (2002 – 2019) – Chief Deputy (seven years), Deputy Supervisor (five years); also served as the Voter Outreach Manager and Elections Services Coordinator.
Senior Executive Secretary, Florida House of Representatives, (2000 – 2002).
Professional History –
In 1999, I was recruited by Supervisor of Elections Dorothy Ruggles to be a speaker in her high school voter outreach program. Our objective was to educate students about the electoral process, register students to vote and encourage civic participation.
I continued my relationship with the elections office by conducting voter registration drives at the University of South Florida, while working as a Senior Executive Secretary with the Florida House of Representatives.
In January 2002, I was hired by Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark to develop and manage a new voter outreach department. As the Voter Outreach Manager, I managed permanent and temporary employees and coordinated over 1,100 outreach events between January – October 2002 to educate voters on the new touch-screen voting system that was being used for the first time in Pinellas County. I also created a high school voter outreach program titled Vote In Honor of a Vet, which received the “Superior Award” from the National Association of County Information Officers.
In July 2005, I served as the Elections Services Coordinator managing permanent employees who hired, trained and retained poll workers; the department contracted with polling places, developed poll worker training manuals and materials and conducted poll worker classes at three training locations.
In 2007, I served as a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee. The Committee was tasked with making a recommendation to the Pinellas Board of County Commissioners (BCC) on an optical scan voting system to be procured and implemented for the 2008 fall elections. To be meet the needs of our voters, numerous constituencies were considered, including voters with disabilities. The system also had to meet the administrative and technological needs of the Supervisor of Elections office, e.g., election management system, modem capability and election reporting tools. The Committee’s recommendation was supported by the Supervisor of Elections and the BCC. This voting system is still used today.
In August 2007, I became the Deputy Supervisor of Elections overseeing the Voter Outreach, Poll Worker, Communications and Candidate Qualifying Departments. In May 2012, I became the Chief Deputy overseeing all departments under the Supervisor of Elections and managing all aspects of elections administration. My responsibilities included, but were not limited to supporting the Supervisor of Elections and Canvassing Board; managing personnel; managing encumbrances, year-end budget analysis and preparing annual budgets; assisting with annual financial audits; submitting grant applications; contract negotiations; speech writing; giving presentations; public relations; data analysis; tracking federal and state legislation and Florida Division of Elections Administrative Rules; ensuring compliance with Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act, Help America Vote Act, National Voter Registration Act, and Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act; Florida election law; Public Record law, and Florida Division of Elections’ Administrative Rules; organizational design; long-term strategic planning; maintaining a strong physical and cybersecurity posture by working closely with our federal, state and local partners; and maintaining the high standards and integrity set forth by the Supervisor of Elections.
As Supervisor of Elections, I am now an Appointing Authority, which is a 11 – member board associated with the Pinellas Unified Personnel System, a member of the Business and Technology Systems board, a member of the Human Rights board, a member of the County Attorney Oversight Committee, a member of the association of Florida Elections Supervisors, and a member of the County Canvassing Board, when I am not on the ballot.
During my 17-year career with the Supervisor of Elections I have administered 323 elections at the countywide and municipal levels; conducted 13 machine recounts; 12 manual recounts; 36 post-election manual audits; implemented two voting systems and a subsequent system upgrade; assisted in the implementation of the Florida Voter Registration Database by providing the State with Pinellas County’s local voter registration data; implemented the first ballot-on-demand system in Florida; implemented a Pitney Bowes Mailing System and subsequent upgrade; implemented electronic poll books; and twice conducting re-precincting countywide due to redistricting.
Pinellas County is the sixth largest county in the State with more than 700,000 active registered voters.
I am a Certified Elections Registration Administrator (CERA) through The Election Center and Auburn University; subject matter expert for the Florida Elections Supervisors (FSE); FEMA 1S-00100 and 1S-00700 certified; member of the Pinellas County Workplace Security Task Force and Notary Public.
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of South Florida.
Why should voters vote for you?
As your Supervisor of Elections, I have 17 years of elections administration experience. I have conducted over 320 elections and have been a part of every aspect of the elections process. I have the necessary experience needed to conduct secure and successful elections, and ensure voters have a positive voting experience.
If elected, what are your top priorities?
Be committed to data driven decisions; leverage technology to protect and streamline processes; continue preparations for our 2021 municipal elections; educate voters with disabilities on a new ADA accessible voting machine that must be precured and implement in 2021; and prepare for 2022 redistricting.
What are three key messages of your campaign?
- Increase access to voter registration and ballots.
- Conduct elections accurately and with integrity.
- Protect your vote by maintaining and enhancing the physical and cybersecurity posture of our operations.
What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?
Maintaining the balance between access to the electoral process, while maintaining the integrity of the electoral process; and neither at the expense of the other.
As it relates to the role you are seeking, how has that governmental body handled the Covid-19 pandemic? What would you do differently/the same in handling both the public health risk and the economic recovery?
This is an unprecedented time. We are amid a pandemic during a presidential election year. As election administrators we are planners by nature, but we also must be flexible and responsive to circumstances that require change. Six days prior to the March Presidential Preference Primary (PPP), polling places and poll workers could no longer serve because of COVID-19. We precured Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect our voters and poll workers. Ultimately our ability to adapt and respond is why the PPP and the Primary were tremendously successful.
After the PPP, we regrouped and redeveloped a layered approach for conducting the August and November elections.
We contacted and educated voters on mail ballots, which since June, has so far resulted in a 44% increase in the number of requests for mail ballots for the General Election. We increased the number of staffed mail ballot drop-off locations. We provided pre-paid postage for both the August and November elections (and continuing forward). Early voting will be accessible to voters across the County and we maintained all our community polling places not impacted by COVID-19.
We have the necessary (PPE) to protect our voters and poll workers; masks for poll workers, Q-Tips for voters to be used when signing the signature pads at early voting and polling place locations, sanitary guidelines for poll workers to wipe down surfaces and pens, hand sanitizer and social distancing for additional protection.
In the role you are seeking, what will you do to address issues of racism and inequality?
As Supervisor of Elections, my office treats ALL citizens fairly and with dignity. I am responsible for administering elections in accordance with law and to protect ALL citizens' constitutional right to vote. I take this enormous responsibility very seriously.
What motivates you to run for public office?
The driving force behind why I do what I do is the positive impact the office of Supervisor of Elections has on our community. With the voters, we support our Constitutional Republic.
As Supervisor of Elections, we conduct mock elections in our elementary, middle and high schools; educate high school/college students on the importance of registering to vote and voting; increase access for voters with disabilities; ensure citizens have the information needed to register to vote and participate in the electoral process; and protect the integrity of the entire election process.
My commitment to serve Pinellas County and conduct elections fairly, accurately and securely is unwavering.