Turner Ready for Elections Post

Politics

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING TUESDAY AUG 2, 2016

While important races from president to city commission will be decided in coming weeks, Sarasota County’s incoming supervisor of elections won the job without a vote being cast. Ron Turner, now the deputy supervisor of elections, won his first term without opposition. “I feel very passionate about elections administration, the right to vote and just promoting and protecting that right,” the Republican says.

It’s a position Turner held elsewhere. He served in his 20s as supervisor of elections in DeSoto County, where he oversaw the high-profile and controversial 2000 presidential election. He previously served on the Arcadia City Council, and after moving to Sarasota in 2001 worked in various capacities including as district director for US Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, and spent two years as executive director for Manatee County Habitat for Humanity, then got back into elections when he took a job in Sarasota Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent’s office in 2011. When Dent chose not to seek re-election, Turner announced his candidacy for the post.

He says his own passion for elections started as a teenager when he was helping a sheriff’s candidate with elections paperwork. The candidate was the first to tell Turner about what a supervisor of elections does, and when the chance to be appointed as a sueprvisor by Gov. Lawton Chiiles came up in the early 1990s, Turner jumped at the chance. “It’s a niche job, obviously,” he says, “but I loved it. The team and I are on the front lines of choosing our leaders, and I just think that while it may not be one of the sexiest jobs, it’s one of the most important.”

He won’t be sworn in until January, but has plenty of work while still helping run Dent’s office. Last week brought a rush in voter registration as people filed right before yesterday’s deadline to vote in the August 30 primary. He expects another rush 29 days before the November election. In between, there will be absentee ballots shipped and received, not to mention the primary and the November 8 general election.

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