Florida Elections Office Supervisor’s ‘Vote Confidence Tour’ kicks off in St. Petersburg

Following unprecedented levels of misinformation about election security in the nation’s 2020 election, Democrats and Republicans in Florida have formed to build voter confidence in the 2022 election systems, starting Tuesday with a tour of central Florida election office supervisors.

The Florida Resiliency and Fair Elections Network Voter Confidence Tour kicked off its first event at the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections office. It is the first of five steps designated by the group which was formed from an initiative of the Carter Center in Atlanta and the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston.

“The goal is to take back misinformation,” said Jennifer Webb, a former Democratic Florida House member of Pinellas who is coordinating the tour with former Republican State House Rep. Kurt Kelly from Ocala.

“People have their own social networks that they can tap into. But the people on the ground are in the best position to help get accurate information about our electoral processes, which instills confidence in our electoral process and combats the misinformation and disinformation that begins to circulate as we get closer. Election Day,” Webb said.

About a dozen members of the public — both Democrats and GOP members — were part of the tour of the Pinellas County SOE office. Pinellas’ office was buzzing with activity, with early voting underway and mail-in ballots arriving at the center daily.

Florida election officials have been inundated with requests for audits from conservative voting rights groups since the 2020 election, despite the state holding one of the cleanest elections in the country two years ago. , when Donald Trump defeated Joe Biden.

In response to these calls for audits, Marion County Supervisor of Elections Wesley Wilcox, then president of the Florida Election Supervisors, wrote a letter last fall backed by the state’s 66 other election supervisors. which referred to the “disinformation, disinformation and misinformation” that has been flourishing since the 2020 elections.

“We are dedicated to the cause of election integrity, ensuring that every eligible voter’s ballot is accurately counted and that no fraud takes place,” the letter read. “But false allegations of fraud do not strengthen our elections. Instead, they degrade trust in institutions and discourage citizen participation in our democracy.

Wilcox added that many local election supervisors in Florida have been threatened “by our fellow citizens who have been misled by these deceptions.”

Since 2020, the GOP-led legislature has enacted voting restrictions in 2021 and in the session 2022 and established the Bureau of Election Crimes and Security to investigate violations of election law.

But, “It’s the process of the people,” Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Julie Marcus said as she welcomed visitors to the nearly hour-long tour. “It’s a very transparent process. We want people to be educated about this. We want people to see this head-on and personally.

The tour was scheduled to travel to Orange County later Tuesday and will visit the Supervisor of Election Offices in Lake, Marion and Hillsborough Counties over the coming week.

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