Don’t ever let it be said that just because school may not be in session, learning opportunities in Charlotte County cease. The Supervisor of Elections, Hon. Paul A. Stamoulis avidly seeks opportunities to enhance the patriotic spirit in our youth, and to cultivate our future leaders’ understanding of the democratic process and the importance of voting.
Paul, accompanied by a member of his staff, Ms. Dawn Ayala, attended two different summer camps, sponsored by the Charlotte County Parks and Recreation Department. They visited Harold Avenue Recreation Center in Port Charlotte, and South County Regional Park in Punta Gorda. Approximately 75 campers ranging from third to eighth grade met the Supervisor and listened to his talk “Keeping America Strong.” Paul reviews the importance of voting, and getting involved at the local, state and national levels, as he strives to cultivate both knowledge and passion for democracy.
Hon Paul A. Stamoulis speaks to Summer Campers
at Harold Avenue Recreation Center, Port Charlotte
"Keeping America Strong"
Hon Paul A Stamoulis and Dawn Ayala
at South County Regional Park
Discussing Vote by Mail
Campers at South County Regional Park
Summer Safari Campers
Thoughtful questions were entertained by the Supervisor. The children wanted to know how old one needed to be in order to work as a poll worker. When can someone pre-register to vote? The answers included an explanation of how registration works, and the fact that poll workers need to be registered voters in order to be in compliance with the Florida Statutes. (Statute 97.041 F.S. and 102.012, 102.014 F.S.)
In addition there was a very informative discussion regarding the “Vote by Mail” process. The children were educated as to why someone may want or need to request a Vote by Mail ballot, again provoking some very thought-out questions which the Supervisor’s “Vote by Mail” expert, Ms. Dawn Ayala, was able to field; “Their enthusiasm was contagious…” observed Dawn.
At each session the Supervisor and his assistant oversaw a voting demonstration. The ballot consisted of flavors of Ice cream (Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry), Cartoons (SpongeBob SquarePants, Fairly Odd Parents and The Mighty B) and Gaming System Consoles (Nintendo’s Wii, Microsoft’s Xbox-360 and Sony’s Play Station 3).
Dawn selected some of the children and assigned them to function as poll workers, and canvassing board members. This gave them a firsthand perception of just what kind of civic-participation these future citizens and potential leaders of our community may wish to get involved with in the future. They were able to witness election protocol and gain valuable inside information into the voting process. There were Inspectors that verified the eligibility of the voter casting his or her vote, and others who observed voters placing their votes into the sealed/secured ballot box. Another poll worker helped to tabulate the final voting results.
And the winners were:
Ice Cream - Chocolate (31), Vanilla (25), Strawberry (15). There were two “over votes” (that is more than one (1) vote in a single race) and two
Cartoon – SpongeBob SquarePants (by a landslide) (53), Fairly Odd Parents (11), The Mighty B (8). There was one "over vote."
Gaming System Consoles – Nintendo’s Wii (40), Microsoft’s Xbox-360 (26), Sony’s Play Station 3 (8). There was one "over vote."
Enthusiastic campers shared their spirited energy as they enjoyed learning about and participating in the voting process. Dawn found the children to be a pleasure to work with, and Paul was quoted as saying “Keep America Strong, you do have a voice and can continue to have a voice when you get older – get out and Vote!” It is the hope of the Supervisor of Elections that his talks will continue to foster the kind of energy and enthusiasm not only to these future leaders, but to their parents as they share their knowledge.
Hon. Paul A. Stamoulis is ready, willing and able to speak at any community event, organization, association, camp or school. Simply call his office (941) 833-5400 to make arrangements. His tailored talks and demonstrations around the county have been well received, and are a significant part of his community outreach initiatives.