Newly elected Lake County Supervisor of Elections Alan Hays was the speaker at the April meeting of the League of Women Voters of the Villages/ Tri-County Area.
He took office in January replacing Emogene Stegall who retired after 58 years of service, 44 of those as elected supervisor.
Hays said he has hit the ground running learning all aspects of operating Florida elections. In addition to the four pronged approach he and his staff are committed to: voter confidence, excellent service, accurate and efficient elections and responsible financial stewardship, Hays is intently working on modernization. Everything from installing a voicemail system to getting old records digitalized is on the list. The voice mail system is in place and the many, many file cabinets containing so much Lake County election history have been moved to a storage unit until they can be sorted and processed. Hays assured those in the audience that nothing was being thrown out just being put in a more usable format.
The website has been revamped. Hays instructed the team to produce a website that anyone regardless of computer skills could use and easily find answers. They are also now on Facebook and Twitter.
Changes coming soon that will be noticeable to voters include on-line voter registration available Oct. 1 of this year. Ballot-on-demand will be in place for early voters in the very near future. About $800,000 will be spent in the next couple of years to update voting systems including making them ADA compliant.
Hays is committed to the integrity and ‘cleanliness’ of the voting records. To date more than 15,000 registrants have been deleted from the voter list. Hays is hoping Florida votes to become part of ERIC, electronic registration information center, a national registry system.
Increasing voter turnout in Lake County is also in his plans. In 2016, 25 percent of eligible voters voted in the primaries, 78 percent of the eligible voters voted in the general election.
There is an adopt-a-precinct program. Charities or groups and clubs looking to donate to a charity can provide the poll workers and instead of paying the individuals the money they would have earned will be donated directly to the charity.
If you would like more information about this program, call (352) 343-9734 or go to www.lakevotes.com.
Hays previously served as state senator and before that as a Florida representative. However, he said that being in an election has nothing to do with knowing how to run them. He relishes the challenges of this new position.