Workspace: Jerry Holland has busy final year as supervisor of elections
A voting ballot from the infamous 2000 presidential election that caused Florida to make headlines for all the wrong reasons. Underneath is an applicable quote from Joseph Stalin: “Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.” Holland says visiting dignitaries still ask about that election.
Holland spent six years on City Council, his second term cut short when he ran in a special election for the Supervisor of Elections seat. This picture is of the council in 2005, his last year.
Holland (second from right) with Brooklyn Dodgers legends during a November 2005 adult baseball camp.
While on council, Holland participated in an event where he rappelled down the side of a building with the help of Jacksonville Fire and Rescue personnel. About halfway down, they stopped and jokingly wanted to talk about the department’s budget for the year.
Jerry Holland’s time as supervisor of elections is coming to an end next year, but not before busy times. Between now and next summer when he is termed out, there will be four elections — a statewide primary Tuesday and general election Nov. 4, along with local elections in March and May. Here he’s next to the last map proposed by City Council member Denise Lee during the 2011 redistricting exercise that takes place every decade.
Holland’s office is Downtown at 105 E. Monroe St. The office also serves as an early vote location, as it is now for the Aug. 26 primary election.
In April 2004 while still on council, Holland flew in an F-15, an experience he called “a blast” — even if it made him sick. “I threw up,” he admits, laughing. He also said he blacked out slightly. Holland said the pilots ensure passengers receive the experience and he can see why they have to be in good shape.
Prominently displayed on Holland’s desk.
Holland with his son, Brian. He’s now a project manager at Lennar Homes.
Wednesday, August 20, 10:41 AM EDT
By David Chapman, Staff Writer
It’s election season for those running for office.
It’s busy season for Jerry Holland and his staff at the supervisor of elections office.
While the first of at least four elections takes place Tuesday, Holland has been preparing since April. That’s when prep work goes into training materials for poll workers, followed by training in May. After that comes laying out ballots, programming machines and the like, all in anticipation of voters heading to the polls months later.
“We’ve got two elections this fall,” said Holland. “Then we turn right around for March and May … that doesn’t even include two potential special elections.”
The March and May elections are local and will have mayoral, sheriff and City Council races on them. The special elections could be for a congressional seat and State House 13.
“You can’t budget for it,” he said of special elections and recounts.
He serves as president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections and said talk among those following the governor’s race could be close enough to have a statewide recount.
That would mean heading to City Council to ask for more than the $8.8 million requested in next year’s budget that starts Oct. 1. It’s an increase of more than $2 million from last year, but the two more elections require the funds.
He came into office after a special election of his own, into what he calls a “tough situation.” The previous supervisor, John Stafford, fell ill and couldn’t continue. Bill Scheu filled in on an interim level until Holland won the special election.
With the uncertainty, technology upgrades lagged and staff had fallen behind in training.
Plus, there was that whole presidential election of 2000 that still made Florida a punching bag in the political world.
Rebuilding that trust with voters and both political parties was paramount, Holland said. He believes since being in office it’s been restored.
On the technology front, he estimates the office has invested more than $7 million in upgrades most of for items such as electronic poll books and absentee mailing machines that will mean the office won’t be behind the curve when he is term-limited next year.
The former council president turned supervisor isn’t bowing out of the public limelight just yet. He’s running (currently unopposed) for property appraiser.
He’d still run for supervisor if he could.
“I have probably enjoyed this … more than any other part of my public life,” he said. “I love being engaged with candidates, with voters … I love the administrative side of it.”