Name: Leslie Rossway Swan
Contact Info: (772) 532-2124
How long living in Indian River County: 22 years (I grew up in Indian River County and then pursued my career with Eastman Kodak Company in Coral Gables and moved back to Vero Beach in 1998 with my family.)
Place of Birth: Huntington, New York
Occupation: Indian River County Supervisor of Elections
Family: Husband – Michael J. Swan (Partner with the Law Firm of Rossway Moore Taylor & Swan); Son – Trent Swan (3rd year law student at the University of Miami); Daughter – Lauren Swan (Teacher with the Teach for American Program); Daughter – Courtney Swan (Student at the University of Virginia on a lacrosse scholarship)
Please list Civic and Leadership Experience including title & position and Organization including dates and locations:
- 2011 – 2012: United Way of Indian River County Loaned Executive
- 2008 – Present: United Way of Indian River Campaign Work Place Representative
- 2006 – 2007: United Way of Indian River County Citizens Review Panel
- 2011: Completed National Certification – Certified Elections/Registration Administrator (CERA)
- 2011 – Present: Republican Women of Indian River
- 2011 – Present: North County Republican Club, Sebastian
- 2011 – Present: Vero Beach Christian Business Association
- 2011 – Present: Impact 100 – Indian River County
- 2009 – 2010: President of Vero Beach High School Girls’ Lacrosse Booster Club
- 2006 – 2011: Vero Beach High School Girls’ Lacrosse Booster Club
- 2009 – 2010: Vero Beach High School Fundraising Committee for new weight room
- 2002 – 2007 & 2009 – 2011: Riverside Children’s Theatre Festival of Trees Fundraiser (tree designer)
- 2008 – 2012: Indian River County Health Fair Committee
- 1999 – 2000: Osceola Magnet School PTA President
- 1998 – 2003: Osceola Magnet School Fall Festival Chairman/Committee Member
- 1998 – 2002: Junior League of Indian River County
- 2003 – 2004: Castaway Cove Home Owners Association Secretary
- 2012 – Present: First United Methodist Church Vero Beach Trustees Committee
- 2009 – 2011: First United Methodist Church Vero Beach Finance Committee
- 2007 – 2009: First United Methodist Church Vero Beach Staff Parrish Relations Comm.
- 2004: First United Methodist Church Vero Beach Early Education Task Force
- 2008 & 2011: First United Methodist Church Mission Team to Honduras
- 2007: First United Methodist Church Mission Team to Belize
- 2007: First United Methodist Church Mission Team Co-Leader to Belize
- 2006: First United Methodist Church Mission Team to Mexico
- 2005: First United Methodist Church Mission Team to Nicaragua
- 2004: First United Methodist Church Mission Team to Bahamas
- 1992 – 1993: Junior League of Dade County
- 1996 – 1997: Coral Gables Elementary School PTA President
- 1994 – 1996: Coral Gables Elementary School PTA Treasurer
- 1997: Coral Gables Elementary School Blue-Ribbon Task Force
- 1996 – 1998: Coral Gables Elementary School Fall Festival Chairman
- 1996 – 1998: Coral Gables War Memorial Youth Center Board of Directors
- 1995 – 1998: First United Methodist Church Coral Gables Children’s Ministry Coordinator
- 1993 – 1995: First United Methodist Church Coral Gables Blood Drive Coordinator
- 1981 – Present: Delta Delta Delta Sorority Alumni
- 1981: Inducted into Florida Blue Key Leadership Honorary, University of Florida
What issues motivated you to run for this office and what do you hope to accomplish during your term?
I am running to retain the office of Supervisor of Elections because I have extensive experience in conducting elections and managing an elections office. Prior to my tenure with the elections office, I owned and operated my own business for eight years. I believe that my experience running my own business has been invaluable in managing an intricate Elections Office. I also have over a decade of experience working in the corporate world for Eastman Kodak Company in their sales division where I received numerous awards and accolades. Additionally, I have grown up in Indian River County and it is my turn to give back to this wonderful community which has meant so much to me and my family. One way that I can give back is to continue to conduct open and fair elections and to continue to bring fiscal accountability to the Elections Office.
I believe that I am the right person for the Supervisor of Elections position because I am an election’s professional, not a politician. I am leading the office through one of the most financially challenging times in the last 10 years. The current fiscal year is the first time ever that the Supervisor of Elections will conduct three separately scheduled elections utilizing paper ballots, in addition to the once in a decade task of redistricting, with its substantial workload and added financial demand. I have recently completed the drawing of new countywide precinct boundary lines, as a result of the decennial redistricting process. I was able to reduce the number of voting precincts by 32 percent, and I consolidated polling locations from 35 to 22, saving taxpayers over $120,000 dollars. I successfully implemented dramatic cost-cutting measures, reducing my current budget by 12.6 percent as compared to four years ago during a presidential election cycle. I recently submitted my proposed 2012 – 2013 budget to the Board of County Commissioners. The county administrator asked for a 3 percent reduction from all constitutional officers and I submitted a 9.3 percent reduction, demonstrating my commitment to fiscal conservatism.
During my next term, I will continue implementing cost-cutting measures and increase the use of technology. My goal is to work with our state association, and our legislators, to change the law to expand the scope of sites allowable to host early voting. Broadening the scope of sites, allows Supervisor of Elections more flexibility in selecting early voting locations. Presently, early voting is only allowed at Supervisor of Elections offices, city halls and public libraries.
Another goal is to utilize ballot-on-demand printers at all early voting sites in order to reduce the number of ballots that go unused during early voting. Presently, each early voting site must have ballots on hand for every precinct because “early voters” are eligible to vote at any of the early voting sites offered during a specific election. Ballot-on-demand printers have the capability to print ballots as needed, so there is no waste.
I would also like to implement the program “Double Click for Democracy.” This program offers mock elections via the internet for students to cast their vote in various elections (i.e. Presidential elections). This program is available free of charge.
Our staff is exploring the prospect of designing an “Interactive On-Line Poll Worker” refresher training course which will supplement in-house poll worker training.
I will continue to cross-training employees.
Why do you feel qualified to lead the Supervisor of Elections Office?
I was appointed to the Supervisor of Elections position by Governor Scott in March of 2011. Due to illness, my predecessor had to step down from her elected position and according to Florida Statute; the Governor is responsible for appointing a replacement. I was one of 13 candidates who applied for the position (including my opponent in this race) and I received the appointment because of my job qualifications and extensive elections experience.
Since my appointment by Governor Scott, I have been tested and proven with two flawless elections under my direction, with results reported in record time. Those reported results scored 100 percent accurate on post-election manual audits. Most importantly, those speedy and accurate results were all counted and reported while staying under budget. My chief job is holding fair and accurate elections, but I also remember that my fiduciary duty to the tax payer is an inherent part of my position.
I am the best qualified candidate for the job. I have the unique qualification of having actual experience running 16 elections during my eight-year tenure working at the Supervisor of Elections office, including municipal, special, primary and general elections. I was also in charge of the largest manual recount of 70,000 ballots in the 2008 school board race. I instruct poll worker classes and I serve as the candidate qualifying officer. I have a firm grasp of Florida election law and voting equipment operations.
I am the type of person who has innovative ideas and gets things done. In my first 12 months on the job, I consolidated polling sites and saved $122,000. I updated and modernized the Elections Office website and added social media (Facebook and Twitter). I negotiated an official municipal elections agreement to conduct Indian River County’s five municipalities’ elections (in the past, there was no legal document delineating responsibilities of the municipalities and the Elections Office). Security is my greatest concern; I installed a back-up storage server in the County’s Emergency Operation Center to back-up critical elections data. To streamline telephone calls on Election Day, I implemented an Election Day Communication Center. I deployed a system of “Results Runners” expediting reporting of elections results. I led the initiative to re-number School Board districts to coincide with County Commissioner districts. I implemented a program for high school students called “Democracy Days” to teach them the importance of “one vote” and provide students the opportunity to register to vote in the classroom. I also formed a partnership with the inmate program at the Indian River County Jail to print all of the poll worker manuals, stationary and note cards for the Elections Office.
I have reduced my own salary and personal benefits by 22 percent. I have chosen to take these steps because I recognize that – in addition to providing open and fair elections — I have a fiduciary duty to the citizens of Indian River County. I reduced my salary by 5 percent and I no longer utilize the county’s health insurance plan, which saves the taxpayers over $9,000 annually. Additionally, I do not seek reimbursement for my personal vehicle nor do I seek reimbursement for cell phone minutes incurred while working for the Indian River taxpayers. Finally, when I was appointed to the Supervisor of Elections position, I gave back to the county my accumulated sick time and vacation time, totaling 122 hours, which saved Indian River taxpayers an additional $4,700. The Supervisor’s office received a perfect audit from the county’s independent auditing team from my first budget since being appointed to the Supervisor of Elections position.
What is your opinion on Gov. Rick Scott’s push to purge the voter rolls of non-citizens despite the Department of Justice’s opposition to the move?
My opinion on Governor Rick Scott’s push to purge the voter rolls of non-citizens is as follows: According to Florida Statute, as one of the pre-requisites to be eligible to vote is you must be a United States citizen. If you are not a citizen, you are not entitled to vote.
Last month, the Florida Department of State provided Supervisors of Elections with a list of what the Florida Department of State believed were “non-citizens” on the State’s voter rolls. Upon release of the list, the State acknowledged deficiencies with the information. At this time, the Department of State has now indicated that they will be doing nothing further with respect to non-citizens until it is able to access the federal SAVE system. The State acknowledged deficiencies with the information it provided to the 67 Supervisors of Elections concerning the citizenship status of the individuals on that list.
The U.S. District Court – Northern District of Florida has decided that there is no prohibition in the National Voter Registration Act on removing individuals who are not citizens from a voter registration roll within 90 days of a federal election. The Court noted that non-citizens were never properly on the rolls to begin with. When the Indian River County Supervisor of Elections is provided a name and if our office has sufficient documentation concerning this person’s potential ineligibility based on citizenship, the procedures of 98.075(7), F.S. are available for contacting and removing an individual from our voter roll. If I conclude by preponderance of evidence, that a person is not a citizen and improperly on the registration roll, the removal of that person, pursuant to the provision of the statute, is appropriate, legal, and not barred by the National Voter Registration Act. In the event that someone presents themselves and demonstrates that they are a citizen and provides proof, contact with the Department of State will be undertaken, to affirm that person’s citizenship.