Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Longtime Hernando elections supervisor retiring; operations director announces candidacy

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County Supervisor of Elections Annie Williams said Thursday that she will not seek re-election next year, ending a 38-year career in the elections office and paving the way for a potential contest between two staffers who have worked under her.

Williams, 55, joined the office as a high school student in 1973 and won her first of three four-year terms in 2000. The mother of two grown daughters, Williams said the recent loss of her sister to breast cancer and her own mother's advanced age caused her to think hard about the future.

"I just feel like it's time to pass the torch and spend time with my family and try to travel a little bit," she said.

Williams, a Democrat, made the comments shortly after her director of operations, 38-year-old Elizabeth Townsend, filed to run for the seat, also as a Democrat.

The only other candidate to file so far is Kyro Morales, a 35-year-old Brooksville Republican who worked in the elections office for six years, serving a brief stint as assistant supervisor before leaving after last year's general election to take another job. Williams said she does not plan to make an endorsement in the race.

"They're both very capable individuals," she said. "The office will be left in good hands with either one of them."

Born in Dunedin and raised in Spring Hill just south of the Hernando-Pasco line, Townsend attended Springstead High School and graduated from the former Bible Baptist Christian Academy in Spring Hill.

She earned an associate's degree in computer science from Pasco-Hernando Community College and graduated cum laude from the University of South Florida with a bachelor's degree in communications.

Townsend worked as a child care director and summer camp director for the YMCA, and then as a caseworker for the Florida Department of Children and Families for two years before joining the elections office in 2004 as community relations coordinator. Williams promoted Townsend to her current post last December.

As operations director, Townsend oversees the front counter staff, the office's voting systems administrator, and the registration database. She also continues to serve a communications role, among other duties.

Townsend said her knowledge of the office makes her a strong candidate.

"I'm always looking to improve the process and provide the best voting experience for the voter," she said. "I have a passion for it."

Townsend, a divorced mother of a 19-year-old son, moved from Hernando County to Wesley Chapel in 2008 but plans to move back early next year.

Morales, in announcing his candidacy last month, also emphasized his experience. Townsend said she considers Morales a friend and predicted a cordial race.

Longtime Hernando elections supervisor retiring; operations director announces candidacy 12/01/11 [Last modified: Thursday, December 1, 2011 9:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Roberto Aguayo, Jonathan Drouin, Tim Beckham are coming for revenge

    Bucs

    Forget the Three Tenors.

    Make it the Three Terrors.

    The 2017 Unfulfilled Expectations Tour is about to hit Tampa Bay.

    From left, former Bucs kicker Roberto Aguayo, ex-Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin and former Rays infielder Tim Beckham. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times; DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times; Getty Images]
  2. Carlton: A moment of sanity when citizens finally said no

    Courts

    If you were looking for some small sign of sanity in the world, here's one courtesy of the people of Tampa and Hillsborough County.

    The Confederate memorial statue outside the old Hillsborough courthouse is now boxed up in plywood to prevent vandalism. Private donors have ponied up money to have the statue relocated to a cemetery. [JIM DAMASKE  |  Times]
  3. Review: Jason Aldean fires up a country-dude party at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

    Blogs

    Country music has a dude problem.

    I’m not talking about the proliferation of mindless bro country over the past half-decade, nor am I referring to the fact that most of Nashville’s best music these days comes not from said bros, from female singers and songwriters.

    Jason Aldean performed at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Aug. 18, 2018.
  4. President Trump offers prayers for Kissimmee police

    Blogs

    President Donald Trump reacted to the police shooting in Kissimmee: