David Stafford

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With the Aug. 18 local and state primary three weeks away, mail-in votes already are streaming into Florida’s 67 supervisor of elections offices.

As the debate rages from the White House and elsewhere about voting by mail, the state of Florida can rest on its laurels — and history.

“We’ve been an almost entirely paper state for many years, said Escambia Elections Supervisor David Stafford. “There was a small segment of votes that were cast on touch screens, to comply with the federal disability requirement.”


Several of Florida’s 67 supervisors of elections are asking voters to cast their ballots by mail for the Aug. 18 primary and Nov. 3 general election.

Escambia County’s supervisor is among them.

Unlike some other states wrestling with mail-in balloting, David Stafford says Florida has been ahead of the curve for some time.

“Florida has been what’s called a ‘no excuse now, vote-by-mail state’ for years,” said Stafford. “We’re a very, what I would call ‘mature’ state when it comes to handling large numbers of vote-by-mail ballots.”

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

More than one million of former felons in the state of Florida will be able to register to vote beginning this Tuesday, when the Voting Restoration Amendment 4 takes effect.

There has been a lot of preparation and anticipation for implementation.

Sara Latshaw has been looking forward to this day on behalf of the many individuals in the state who were excluded from the election process due to their felony convictions and were kept out long after completion of their sentences.

Michael Spooneybarger/ Division of Research and Strategic Innovation

 With 2018 midterms looming, Escambia County Supervisor of Elections David Stafford said his office has invested considerable time and resources to make sure they are prepared to thwart possible cyberattacks. 

Those efforts include working with the University of West Florida Center for Cybersecurity.

As part of getting ready for the 2018 election cycle, Escambia County’s Supervisor of Elections recently attended a meeting in San Antonio, Texas on military and overseas voting.

For several years now, David Stafford and Okaloosa County Elections Chief Paul Lux have been involved with the Overseas Voting Initiative, working with the Pentagon and the Council of State Governments.


Florida's 67 county election supervisors are seeking a change in the election laws in the upcoming legislative session, in hopes of joining the Electronic Registration Information Center.

ERIC is a non-profit organization that helps states improve voter roll accuracy and access to voter registration data. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have joined since its formation by the non-partisan Pew Charitable Trusts in 2012. As a result is the revelation that one in eight voter registration records is inaccurate.

Dave Dunwoody / WUWF Public Media

More than half of Florida's active registered voters have already cast ballots ahead of Election Day. The others are now casting ballots, including voters in the western Panhandle.

Escambia County Supervisor of Elections David Stafford says as of midday, turnout was “brisk,” with about 33,000 votes cast since the polls opened at 7:00 a.m.  

A federal judge in Tallahassee has extended the deadline until Wednesday, for voter registration in Florida for the November 8th general election.
U.S. District Judge Mark Walker granted the additional day, with a hearing set for Wednesday involving a temporary restraining order sought by the plaintiffs, and an extension of voter registration through at least October 18.


Supervisors of Elections in Florida’s 67 counties are getting ready for the August 30 primary, including Escambia County’s David Stafford.

Stafford expects a lower turnout for the primary than for the November 8 general election. But he says the August vote is important in and of itself.

“There’s a lot on the ballot this primary,” Stafford says. “Everything from the mayor from the Town of Century all the way up to United States senator. Some school board races, some constitutional offices, county commissioners, etc. that appear on the ballot.”

Escambia Votes

Monday marked the start of qualifying for candidates wishing to run for state and local offices in the August 30th primary. The deadline is noon on Friday.  

As of Monday, there were 45 candidates listed on escambiavotes.com, for local offices ranging from Escambia County Commission to Mayor of Century. Supervisor of Elections David Stafford says there were a few early birds among them.

The Florida House is expected to take up a voter registration bill, which has the blessing of Florida’s 67 County Supervisors of Elections.


Florida State Senator Jeff Clemens is proposing creation of an online voter registration system, in time for the 2016 elections.

Clemens, a Democrat from Lake Worth, wants the state Division of Elections to establish a secure website, which would accept voter-registration applications beginning  January 1, 2016. Senate Bill 228 is one of the top priories of the Florida Association of County Elections Supervisors.

Voters across Florida are getting mailers from Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign, which are leading to some concerns about their absentee ballots. However, there are NO problems with the ballots.

A column by Andy Marlette on the Pensacola News Journal’s website says that Scott’s “Let’s Get to Work” campaign has sent out flyers with “Voter Alert” in bold, red type, and a warning that “Your absentee ballot should have arrived.” That drew the attention of David Stafford – Escambia County’s Supervisor of Elections.

Photo via Flickr//Vox Efx

 Early voting in Escambia County for the August 26 primary kicked off Saturday morning, and runs through next Saturday, August 23.

Nearly 199,000 voters were registered in Escambia when the books closed late last month. That’s a 6% rise from the 2012 primary, which included a presidential ballot. But David Stafford, the county’s Supervisor of Elections, says the increase does not change his turnout prediction of around 25%.

Florida Voters Scrutinized In Controversial Program

Jan 6, 2014

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner says his office will soon begin forwarding the names of suspected non-citizens on the voter rolls to local elections officials. The move formally kicks off the second attempt at a controversial scrubbing program.