2020 » General Election » County » Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections
% of Votes
Florida Lawyer: Successfully Sued for Election Law Violations in 2018 as a private citizen. Deputy Regional Director For Voter Protection In Central Florida: Trained hundreds of lawyers and volunteers in election law. Managed and assigned workers to polling locations across 13 different counties in Florida. Protected Right to Vote.
J.D. Emory Law School; B.A. University of Florida, magna cum laude: Political Science & Classical Studies
All candidates in this race were asked the same questions by the League of Women Voters.
Beyond your educational background, what qualifies you to be the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections? (400 character limit)
I have a background in protecting the vote. For everyone. I have the knowledge and experience of dealing with Florida Elections Law. I bring experience in seeing best practices in multiple counties in central Florida. I have a deep passion for Pinellas county, where I grew up. We can keep voting in Pinellas S.A.F.E. Learn about my platform: https://votedanhelm.com/platform/
Do you think all eligible voters in Pinellas County have equitable access to the ballot box, regardless of race, ethnicity, disability or economic status? If yes, what current practices most support equity? If no, what actions would you take to improve equity? (400 character limit)
Sadly, No. Equity to ballot box will be improved by an expansion of early voting locations. Numerous studies have shown that Pinellas falls last in the state on early voting. For those voters who need and prefer that method of voting, we are not doing enough. I will expand Early Voting. Additionally, historically Pinellas has not had postage paid vote-by-mail. I will make the postage paid.
Since the passage of the Voting Rights Restoration Amendment to the Florida constitution in 2018, there has been considerable legal back-and-forth regarding the enfranchisement of Returning Citizens/ex-offenders. How will your office reach out to and support these citizens to help them understand their eligibility and how they can register to vote? (400 character limit)
First of all, I commend the League for their efforts here already. I feel that this is the call of the office of supervisor of elections to take up this mantle, to help get people registered to vote. In some of these cases it is complicated, but my knowledge of the laws and the systems of government can shine a light to get people the information they need to register properly and legally.
In recent elections, Pinellas County had few early voting locations as compared to our population size, and correspondingly low rates of early voting. Would you expand the number of early voting locations in Pinellas County? Why or why not? (400 character limit)
Yes. A county of the size of Pinellas is grossly underserved by typically only 3 early voting locations. This hurts voters. A comparable county has around 18 locations. There is a gross lack of access and information for early voting in Pinellas County. It took me leaving the county, to see how effective our neighbors were utilizing early voting. We will do better. I will expand early voting.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our election systems in the next four years? How would you address this challenge? (400 character limit)
Cybersecurity. We live in a world where this is a biggest threat to any system and business. As someone who grew up assembling and disassembling computers, I bring a lifetime of experience understanding the vulnerabilities of systems. I take this very seriously. I recognize that the best protections to our election systems are checks and balances: including a paper trail and good audits.
Do you support automatic voter registration and/or same-day voter registration? Why or why not? (400 character limit)
As a private citizen, I certainly would. Automatic voter registration and same-day voter registration increases participation in democracy. I'm for that. But as Supervisor of Elections, my job is to follow the law as it exists. Changing the law is a job of the legislature.
Misinformation and disinformation can confuse voters and erode their confidence in the electoral process. What steps would you take to prevent and combat the spread of disinformation and misinformation regarding voting by mail, election security and voter fraud? (400 character limit)
This is fundamental leadership and education. I have a background in education. One of my major responsibilities is to educate voters about the process. How the system of laws, added election security, and checks and balances protect the process. Sharing correct information protects the vote. Voter fraud is rare. But calling out voter fraud, like I did on Derek Chauvin, protects the vote.