Tommy Hardee: There’s No Off Year In The Supervisor Of Elections OfficeJul 26th, 2013 | By Jacob | Category: Community News
By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
By his own admission, before he became Madison County Supervisor of Elections, Tommy Hardee used to wonder what on earth the Elections Office did during an off election year.
Now he knows the answer: a heck of a lot.
“We’re busier than ever,” he told the Rotary Club, where he was visiting with two of his staff members, Alfreda Martin and Ludie Porter, discussing what goes on in an elections office during an off year. There are new laws and mandates from the state that have to be implemented, new security procedures, voter registration lists to maintain, voter information to update, equipment upgrades that have to be done sooner or later (hopefully sooner, if funding can be found, well before the state-mandated deadlines roll around) and of course, voter registration drives – because, as Hardee has stated many times, every vote matters.
Many of his efforts to bring the office up to speed have been inspired by visits to the Supervisor of Elections (SOE) Office in Bay County, currently the first and only SOE in the nation to earn an ISO 9000 rating for its high level of quality.
Hardee hopes that the Madison County SOE will be the second to earn such a rating. “It
doesn’t matter if Madison is a smaller county,” he said. “Our votes are just as important as Miami-Dade’s.”
There was no book on how to be a Supervisor of Elections when Hardee was appointed to the office in late 2011. There were laws on what had to be done, but no “how-to” guidebook. Hardee learned the ropes from visiting other elections supervisors in other counties, and figuring out how to apply that to Madison County.
Every other year, the Madison SOE office goes through its security procedures to see how they can be improved and what new procedures need to be implemented. So far, the staff has gone from 20 pages of security protocols to about 65 pages.
The there is the biannual report on inactive voters that is due for the state. When a voter misses voting in two elections, he or she is moved to the Inactive Voters List. If the voters remain inactive or if they leave the county or die or otherwise become ineligible, they will eventually be removed from the polls. After New Year’s Day, the Madison SOE moved some 500 voters to the Inactive List and removed another 668 from the registration rolls; some of those removed had died, and one of the things Hardee would like to work on is getting funeral homes to send death notices to the SOE’s office. Only after such official notification can a deceased voter be removed from the voter registration rolls.
On the other side of the equation, he would like to see every eligible voter in the county registered, especially young people, and he would like them to realize how important their vote is and why it is important to cast their vote and make their voice heard. Once a month, he holds voter registration drives in places like Greenville and Lee, and would like to go to other places like Pinetta. TO READ THE REST OF THIS STORY CLICK HERE