Supervisor of Elections: Harrington, Doyle in non partisan runoff
Incumbent Sharon Harrington is seeking her third full term as Lee County Supervisor of Elections and is being challenged by Fort Myers businessman Tommy Doyle.
Harrington (43 percent of votes) and Doyle (34 percent) were the top two vote-getters in the August Primary, defeating three other non-partisan candidates.
Early voting in the General Election begins at 10 a.m. on Monday and continues daily through Nov. 5. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.
* Residence: Fort Myers
* Occupation: Accounting & business owner
* Education: University of West Florida
* Family: Married, three children
Tommy Doyle is a Fort Myers native and third generation owner of Flint & Doyle Structural Moving. Doyle said he is running for election because of the bad reputation that Lee County has earned in recent elections.
“If elected, I will provide better election preparation and improve the budget process, procurement process and outreach,” said Doyle. “I have run a business for 30 years and I have an accounting degree. I believe the leadership skills instilled in me in the military qualifies me to manage the elections office because it must be run as a business.”
Doyle maintains that having a degree in accounting and being a successful businessman for 30 years and with a reputation for hard work qualifies him to be Supervisor of Elections.
“The current supervisor has overspent her budget and recently requested an emergency $185,000, claiming the funding is necessary to make sure Lee County doesn’t repeat the long lines of 2012,” Doyle says. “How could this happen? This year’s SOE budget is $9 million, a 30 percent increase from the previous year. She claims it is no big deal, but I think it is a big deal. The SOE taking additional money from the county as a safety net for her own mistakes is actually money that is taken away from public safety, infrastructure or even tax cuts for Lee County families.”
Doyle maintains mismanaging funds is not fiscally conservative and, quite simply, irresponsible.
“The taxpayers of Lee County deserve better,” Doyle said. “I want every voter to believe that their vote is safe, secure and counted, and tax dollars are being spent wisely.”
Doyle said he expects a close election when all the ballots are counted.
Sharon Harrington, incumbent
* Residence: Fort Myers
* Occupation: Lee County Supervisor of Elections
* Education: Cuyahoga Community College, Edison Community College (accounting & business administration)
* Family: not married
Sharon Harrington has been in public service for 27 years, including the last 12 as Supervisor of Elections.
“I am running for re-election because I love what I do,” she said. “The deep passion I have for the voters of Lee County can only be gained by being a public servant. I have extensive training in accounting, management and I am the only candidate with any elections administration training and am a certified Supervisor of Elections. I believe that on-the-job experience is the best training anyone can have.”
Harrington said she would like to get the Legislature to change the law to allow municipalities the option to hold elections with all mail balloting. That way everyone gets a ballot, active and inactive, and would cost less. The return on investment, she believes, will be greater because of increased participation.
Harrington said as the general election draws closer she is busier with the election duties and therefore has little time to think about campaigning and making appearances.
“That’s one of the drawbacks of being an incumbent,” Harrington said. “The state extended the registration period (Hurricane Matthew) and we had 1,600 people sign up to vote in that time. We’ve worked so hard for the last four years to make booting go smoother and be better equipped.”
She is striving to better educate the public on the voting process and would like people to tour the offices and polls to see what goes on and how they do it.
“I want voters to know why it is important to change their address and want to develop a full program on what goes on behind the scenes,” she said.