Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian E. Corley recently spoke at the East Pasco Networking Group’s breakfast meeting, touching on a number of topics involving elections.
For one thing, Pasco is gearing up for a special election to fill the Florida State House District 38 seat, vacated by Danny Burgess, who was invited by Gov. Ron DeSantis to serve as the executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
There will be a primary election on April 9 between Republican challengers Randy Maggard and David ‘Mac’ McCallister. The winner will compete in the general election on June 18, against Kelly Smith, the Democratic candidate in the race.
The April 9 special election primary will coincide with Pasco’s municipal elections. A number of seats are up for election in St. Leo, San Antonio and Zephyrhills.
Regarding the special election, Corley said, “the turnout should be interesting. We have about 110,000 voters in that district, and have record numbers of Vote By Mail. They’re going to get them. All they have to do is fill out that oval and shoot it back to us.”
If they do, Corley added: “Turnout would be through the roof.”
He didn’t seem as optimistic about the turnout for the upcoming municipal elections.
“You know, some of our city elections — the turnout is dismal, 5 (percent), 10 percent,” Corley said.
And, that clearly bothers him.
“I can’t help but think about our relatives who crossed oceans to fight for our freedoms — and other people won’t even fill in a simple oval. There’s no excuse for that,” Corley said.
He also touched on Florida’s role in national politics.
“Florida has a perennial spotlight on us. We’re the third-largest in the nation, but when it comes to presidential, we are the show,” Corley said.
“If you go back to 2016, California, Texas, New York, Florida.
“The exact moment we knew who the candidates were, you could have called California and New York for Hillary Clinton, that day.
“Honestly, Texas is always going to vote Republican, the way the demographics are.
“Enter Florida, and it’s always close,” he said.
And, because of the recount, he said, “the system was tested, like never before.
“We’ve never had a statewide recount. Bush-Gore wasn’t. People think it was, but it wasn’t. It was select counties,” he said.
The recount stress-tested the state’s election system, he said, “but it held.”
Now, planning is underway for 2020.
Approval may be needed for some additional early voting sites in Pasco because there’s a possibility that Pasco County could be renovating all of its libraries during 2020, Corley said.
“We use a good chunk of our early voting sites at libraries. We’re limited at where we can have early voting. Not to have South Holiday, New River — ooh, that’ll get the blood pressure rising.
“So, we have to work on some legislation to give us some more wildcard spots,” he said.
“We use the Florida (AdventHealth) Center Ice site in Wesley Chapel, which was very well-received,” Corley said.
He also touched on controversies involving voter registration.
He said there are many ways to register to vote, and he encourages people to take advantage of those options.
“Regardless of your views, 100 percent of those eligible — keyword, eligible — should register to vote, and then 100 percent of those should vote. And, the outcome is between the voters and the candidates,” Corley said.
Published February 20, 2019