Florida’s new secretary of state and two key election supervisors in some of the state’s most-populous counties have never run an election. The officials have taken over central roles for future elections, with no previous experience besides voting themselves. They include recently appointed Secretary of State Laurel Lee, Broward County Supervisor of Elections Peter Antonacci and Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Wendy Link. Broward and Palm Beach are the second- and third-largest counties in Florida by the number of registered voters, with a total of more than 2.1 million voters – and far more registered Democrats than Republicans. nGov. Ron DeSantis appointed Lee, 44, when former Secretary of State Michael Ertel resigned after a photo surfaced of him wearing blackface.
Ertel had more than a decade’s experience as the election supervisor in Seminole County before his appointment, but Lee is hardly the first secretary of state selected with no election experience. Four-in-10 secretaries of state over the past decade were also new to the position.
Lee is married to longtime Florida Republican Sen. Tom Lee, a former Senate president. She graduated from the University of Florida Law School then served as a circuit court judge. As secretary of state she earns about $18,000 less per year than when she was a judge.
She will be responsible for guiding the division of elections during an election, or in case of a recount ensuring that each county follows the law.