BY JENNIFER CABRERA
ALACHUA COUNTY, FL – The recent hiring of former mayoral candidate David Arreola’s campaign manager by the Alachua County Elections Office Supervisor raises questions about whether he is appropriate for someone ‘one who has recently been employed by an active campaign to be directly involved in the management of the voter database and the ballot counting process.
Dillon Boatner, who was paid $1,500 as Arreola’s campaign manager on February 7, $750 on March 14 and $750 on April 12, was hired on May 16 as an election information specialist (and Custodian of Public Records) for the Office of the Supervisor of Elections. In addition to payments for campaign manager services, Boatner was also named as Arreola’s campaign treasurer in a filing on December 30, 2021. Arreola named himself as his campaign treasurer in a form filed on April 22, 2022 .
According to the job posting, the role of Elections Office Supervisor is responsible for a variety of data analysis and processing duties and also assists in designing the printed ballot and programming the database of ballots. voters for each election; assisting with ballot coordination, tabulation and testing of voter registration equipment; assistance in programming Election Day and Early Voting activators for electronic poll books; assists in passing absentee ballots using high-speed scanners at canvassing board meetings and election counting; uploads live results to the program on election night; and manages and supports staff computers and external devices.
Skills required for the position include knowledge of applicable election law requirements and knowledge of data collection and reporting techniques; minimum qualifications include a degree in computer science or a directly related field or equivalent experience.
Alachua Chronicle received a copy of Boatner’s application for the position through a public records request, and we sent questions to Boatner, who declined to answer any questions and instead referred them to the supervisor. Kim Barton elections.
The address Boatner listed on his application is the same address Arreola used in his earliest campaign documents, including his oath of office (his most recent document uses the address of a warehouse ), so we asked if Boatner was a roommate of Arreola. . As with our other questions, Boatner declined to answer and Barton replied, “I don’t ask any of my employees what their living situation is.”
Boatner also declined to answer our question about when he stepped down as Arreola’s campaign manager. Barton also declined to give us a date and instead replied, “Before I started in my office, I told him that I knew he had done any data work for campaigns and if he was currently involved in any campaigns , that he immediately informs them that he has accepted a position in my office and can no longer work publicly or privately on his campaign.
We asked for clarification on Boatner’s education because his application (see below) states both that he did not graduate and “Graduation received: bachelor’s degree.” Barton said the premise of our question was incorrect and added, “I went back and looked at Dillon’s application. He indicated on his application that he had “some college education” and when asked, did you graduate? he answered NO. Dillon does not have a college degree; however, he completed 110 out of 120 credits required for a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Florida and this was indicated on his application. Not having a bachelor’s degree is similar to previous employees who held this position. They also didn’t have a bachelor’s degree, but had experience that made them a valuable member of our team.
We asked about Boatner’s IT-related qualifications, and Barton replied, “Dillon has years of experience in data science, a specialization in IT. Specifically, he has practiced election data science during his research with the Election Science Task Force at UF and as a data manager at America Votes.
We also asked about Boatner’s qualifications or experience managing and supporting staff computers and external devices, and Barton wrote, “My office is contracting with the county IT department to manage most office computing needs. Dillon’s background provides sufficient experience to assist the Deputy Chief with routine IT support needs. »
Finally, we asked Barton if she saw a conflict of interest between Boatner’s work with a campaign that will run on the Aug. 23 ballot and her duties to be directly involved in the counting process of those ballots. Barton said she didn’t because “Dillon Boatner has no decision-making power as to when or which ballots to solicit.”
Barton went on to explain that absentee ballots are only accepted or rejected by the Alachua County canvassing board and all meetings are open to the public. The 2022 Alachua County Soliciting Board consists of Judge Thomas Jaworski, who serves as chairman of the board, Alachua County Commissioner Charles Chestnut IV, and Barton. Alternates to the board are Alachua County Court Judges Susan Miller-Jones and Kristine Van Vorst and former County Commissioners Penny Wheat and Mike Byerly.
Barton further explained that “Dillon will assist and work side-by-side with Deputy Chief Carl Delesdernier under the direction of Alachua canvassing board members. I would also like to add that at each canvassing board meeting, a county attorney will also attend the canvassing board if procedural issues arise.