I graduated from Vero Beach High School in the summer of 2020 and was accepted to attend Duke University to study engineering. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, classes moved online and I ultimately decided to defer my enrollment until the fall of 2021. In August 2020, I began my internship with the Indian River County Supervisor of Elections Office.
I have always had an avid fascination for American History and the founding principles of our republic. As I grew older and entered into high school, this interest developed into a passion for politics and the notion of giving back to the community. The Elections Office internship presented a unique opportunity to mix an interest in technology with my passion for the elections process.
When I started my first week, the Elections Office was in the process of setting up for a statewide primary election. In preparation for this election, the office implemented the ClearBallot Election Audit software. This software is used as an independent audit of the Election Office tabulation system. One of my main responsibilities was the management of the ClearAudit system. Tabulated ballots including Early Voting, Election Day, and Vote-by-Mail were scanned into the ClearAudit system where totals could then be compared to the tabulation system. I found my duties highly interesting because they allowed me to gain experience in maintaining complex technologies and software as well as play an active role in ensuring election integrity.
As the election season progressed, I took on other responsibilities including election worker outreach. In the lead up to the General Election I worked with Public Relations and Election Worker Specialist Shane Bias. During this time, I scheduled training for election workers, organized voting materials, and assisted in coordinating COVID-19 safety measures. After the election concluded, I also had the opportunity to interview and write biographies about several election workers including EViD Operators, Deputies, and Clerks. The interviews were conducted as part of a campaign to ensure voter confidence and display civic involvement in the elections process. These responsibilities ultimately provided a humbling chance for me to personally meet and interact with the people that defend the right to vote within Indian River County.
As I reflect on my internship with the Supervisor of Elections Office, I can honestly say this was a meaningful and important experience. The elections internship has allowed me to engage in my interests of politics and technology as well as serve the community that I grew up in. I am incredibly grateful to Leslie Swan, Supervisor of Elections, and the entire staff for accepting me into a welcoming work environment. Although this year didn’t go as I anticipated, my experience with the Supervisor of Elections Office has been truly impactful, and is one that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
In the fall of 2019 I began my internship at the Supervisor of Elections Office. At that time I was a junior at Saint Edward’s School and I am now a senior and will be attending the University of Florida. At Saint Edward’s, we are required to do an internship during the spring semester of our senior year. I was eager to find an internship and I decided that I wanted to start mine earlier.
Growing up, my family was very interested in politics and the elections process. My dad always felt that education about current events was very important for me. He was helping me search for internships and we happened to stumble upon an internship at the Supervisor of Elections. I was so excited about it and applied immediately.
When I began the internship, I worked with Shane Bias, the Public Relations and Election Worker Specialist. I organized election materials and assisted in preparing for election worker training. This included calling election workers and scheduling them for training. This pushed me out of my comfort zone because I never liked talking to people I did not know on the phone. However, once I started it became much easier and definitely helped my communication skills. I entered this internship with little to no knowledge of the actual election process, but this quickly changed as I learned the intricacies of what occurs leading up to and on Election Day.
An interesting aspect of my internship was the onset of the pandemic. While working over the summer, I had the opportunity to work with Daisy Zamora and Katie Otto in the Vote By Mail department. This election was very different because vote by mail ballots were an integral part of the process due to the pandemic. Daisy and Katie showed me how to prepare vote by mail ballots to be mailed and then process them once they are returned. Our days were very busy and only got busier as the election got closer.
I was sad to start school because I knew that meant I would be taking a break from my internship, but I was excited to return to the Supervisor of Elections in the spring of 2021. Since the general election has passed, things are not as busy as they were but there is still much to do. I have now gone back to working with Shane and we are creating a video for election worker training and various other tasks.
I plan on doing this internship for as long as I can, mainly when I am on summer break from UF. I am beyond grateful to the Supervisor of Elections, Leslie Swan, for giving me this internship and showing me what a true work environment is really like. I am now not only more educated about the election process and all of the work that goes into it, but also my overall skills have increased exponentially. I feel confident in my skills and I know I am well prepared for any work environment I encounter.