St. Petersburg Times
 tampabaycom
tampabay.com
Print storySubscribe to the Times

Pasco

PASCO SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS

ISSUES OF TRUST: Kurt Browning, who oversaw a problem-free election in 2000, faces Patrick Bergy, who says he doesn't have faith in touch screen voting.

By STEPHEN HEGARTY
Published October 26, 2004

The same factors that make Kurt Browning want to keep his job after 24 years are what prompted Patrick Bergy to launch a long shot challenge to replace him.

"Elections today are nothing like what they were four years ago," Browning said. After running Pasco's elections office since 1980, he said he is passionate about continuing his record of problem-free elections even with the new laws and new voting machines.

"People know Pasco can get it done and get it done right," Browning said. "That's why I'm still so neurotic about it."

Bergy is making his first run for elected office because he feels that with all the changes in elections it's time to change supervisors, too. He thinks his computer expertise makes him the man for the job.

"Over the last 20 years, Pasco didn't really need someone with my experience running the elections office," Bergy said. "But now that's what's needed."

Browning is running on his experience. His slogan is "Experience You Can Trust."

Bergy is focusing on the issue of voting machines, an area of acute concern after the 2000 presidential election fiasco in Florida. Bergy doesn't trust the machines.

During the infamous 2000 recounts, Pasco didn't have the problems other counties had. Still, subsequent election reforms have pushed counties to adopt new procedures and to buy new voting machines.

Bergy faults Browning's decision to rely on touch screen voting machines, contending he should have opted for optical scan machines. Bergy has tapped into a debate being played out statewide and nationally, as voter advocates and prominent Democrats have argued that touch screens are vulnerable to hackers and mechanical failures.

"I'm a computer person and based on what I know, I don't have that kind of confidence in those machines," Bergy said.

Browning defends his confidence in the touch screen voting machines. Contrary to what critics say, he says, the machines can recreate a record of votes cast in case of a recount. Whatever recent problems have plagued elections in Florida - such as glitches in Hillsborough County - have been attributed to old-fashioned human error, not the voting machines.

Browning dismisses Bergy's criticism, saying his opponent is not the voting machine expert he claims to be.

Bergy also faults Browning for changing political parties in 2002, when the longtime Democrat switched to the Republican Party. Bergy is running with no party affiliation, a move that has hindered his ability to raise money for the campaign. But he says he feels there should be no questions about the political motivations of the person in charge of counting votes.

Browning explained his move as a personal decision, saying he became disenchanted with the left-leaning wing of the Democratic Party. The switch, he said, does not affect how he approaches his job.

THE JOB:

The supervisor of elections administers government elections in Pasco County and oversees a budget of $2.5-million. Pasco's elections supervisor serves a four-year term and the job pays $107,613 annually.

REPUBLICAN

KURT BROWNING, 46, was first elected Pasco County's supervisor of elections in 1980. He is a Dade City native and graduated from Pasco Comprehensive High School, Pasco-Hernando Community College and the University of South Florida, where he earned a bachelor's degree in political science and a master's degree in public administration. Browning has been active in the United Way, the Kiwanis Club, Leadership Pasco and the Boy Scouts of America. He served on Gov. Jeb Bush's task force on election procedures. Browning is married and has two children. ASSETS: home, vehicles, cash, insurance. LIABILITIES: mortgage, loans. SOURCE OF INCOME: salary.

NO PARTY

PATRICK BERGY, 38, is a computer network administrator for Florida Heart & Vascular in Tampa. He was born and raised in Michigan and moved to Florida in 1980. He has lived in New Port Richey since 2000. Bergy is a self-described, largely self-taught computer expert, and has Microsoft certification. He is working toward an associate's degree at St. Petersburg College. Bergy is married and has two children. ASSETS: household goods and personal effects, computers. LIABILITIES: credit cards, loans. SOURCE OF INCOME: salary. WEB SITE: www.savethevote.com

[Last modified October 25, 2004, 12:07:54]

Know your candidates

Citrus
  • CITRUS COMM 1
  • CITRUS COMM 5
  • CITRUS PROPERTY APPRAISER
  • CITRUS SCHOOL BD 4
  • CITRUS SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT 5
  • CITRUS SUPT SCHOOLS
  • CRYSTAL RIVER CC 1
  • CRYSTAL RIVER CC 3
  • CRYSTAL RIVER CC 5
  • U.S. HOUSE 5
  • CITRUS COUNTY SHERIFF

  • Citrus County
  • STATE SENATE 3

  • Citrus-Hernando
  • 5TH DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL JUDGES
  • STATE HOUSE 43

  • Congress
  • U.S. HOUSE 11

  • Hernando
  • 5th CIRCUIT JUDGE 10
  • BROOKSVILLE CC 2
  • BROOKSVILLE CC 3
  • HERNANDO COMM 1
  • HERNANDO COMM 3
  • HERNANDO COMM 5
  • HERNANDO SCHOOL BD 2
  • STATE SENATE 15
  • HERNANDO COUNTY SHERIFF

  • Hillsborough
  • HILLSBOROUGH CLERK OF CIRC CT
  • HILLSBOROUGH COMM 2
  • HILLSBOROUGH COMM 4
  • HILLSBOROUGH COMM 6
  • HILLSBOROUGH COMM 7
  • HILLSBOROUGH JUDGE 11
  • HILLSBOROUGH REFERENDUM
  • HILLSBOROUGH SCH BD 1
  • HILLSBOROUGH WRITE-IN RACES
  • HLLSBOROUGH SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS
  • TEMPLE TERRACE CITY COUNCIL
  • U.S. HOUSE 12
  • HILLSBOROUGH PUBLIC DEFENDER
  • STATE HOUSE 47
  • STATE HOUSE 57
  • STATE HOUSE 58
  • STATE HOUSE 60
  • TEMPLE TERRACE MAYOR

  • Hillsborough-Pasco
  • STATE HOUSE 62

  • Pasco
  • PASCO COUNTY CLERK OF CIRCUIT COURT
  • PASCO COMM
  • PASCO COMM 3
  • PASCO COMM 5
  • PASCO SCHOOL BD 2
  • PASCO SHERIFF
  • PASCO SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS
  • PASCO SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS
  • STATE SENATE 11
  • STATE HOUSE 44
  • STATE HOUSE 46

  • Pinellas
  • 2ND COURT OF APPEAL JUDGES
  • LARGO CHARTER AMENDMENT
  • PINELLAS CHARTER AMENDMENTS
  • PINELLAS CLERK OF THE CIRCUIT COURT
  • PINELLAS COMM 1
  • PINELLAS COMM 3
  • PINELLAS COMM 7
  • PINELLAS SCHOOL TAX REFERENDUM
  • PINELLAS SHERIFF
  • ST. PETE REFERENDUMS
  • ST. PETERSBURG REFERENDUMS
  • STATE HOUSE 45
  • STATE HOUSE 51
  • STATE HOUSE 52
  • TREASURE ISLAND REFERENDUM
  • U.S. HOUSE 10

  • Pinellas-Pasco
  • PINELLAS-PASCO CIRCUIT JUDGE GROUP 22

  • State
  • U.S. Senate
  • FLORIDA SUPREME COURT JUSTICES
  • Gambling, malpractice top amendment list

  • U.S.
  • PRESIDENT
  • Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111