fbpx

Supervisor of Elections hires David Arreola’s campaign manager as Information Specialist

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

ALACHUA COUNTY, FL – The recent hiring of mayoral candidate David Arreola’s former campaign manager by the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Office raises questions about whether it is appropriate for someone who was recently employed by an active campaign to be directly involved in management of the voter database and the process of counting ballots.

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 May 16 as Elections Information Specialist (and Public Records Custodian) for the Supervisor of Elections office. Along with payments for Campaign Manager services, Boatner was also designated as Arreola’s campaign treasurer in a document filed on December 30, 2021. Arreola designated himself as his campaign treasurer in a form filed on April 22, 2022.

According to the posting for the job, the role at the Supervisor of Elections Office is responsible for a variety of data analysis and processing tasks and also assists with designing the printed ballot and programming the voter database for each election; assists with ballot coordination, tabulation, and voter check-in equipment testing; assists with programming Election Day and Early Voting activators for electronic poll books; assists in running vote-by-mail ballots through the high-speed scanners during Canvassing Board Meetings and recount elections; uploads live results into the program on election night; and manages and supports staffs’ computers and external devices. 

Required skills for the role include knowledge of applicable election law requirements and knowledge of data gathering 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 job through a public records request, and we sent some questions to Boatner, who declined to answer any of the questions and instead referred them to Supervisor of Elections Kim Barton.

The address Boatner listed on his application is the same as the address Arreola used in his early campaign documents, including his Oath of Office (his most recent document uses the address of a storage facility), so we asked whether Boatner is a housemate of Arreola’s. As with our other questions, Boatner declined to answer, and Barton replied, “I do not ask any of my employees what their living situation is.”

Boatner also declined to answer our question about when he resigned as Arreola’s campaign manager. Barton similarly declined to give us a date and instead replied, “Before he started in my office, I told him that I knew he had done data work for campaigns and if he was currently assisting with any campaigns, that he informs them immediately that he has accepted a position with my office and can no longer publicly or privately work on their campaign.”

We asked for clarification about Boatner’s education because his application (see below) says both that he did not graduate and “Degree Received: Bachelor’s.” Barton said the premise of our question was incorrect and added, “I went back and reviewed Dillon’s application. He indicated on his application that he had ‘some college’ and on the question, did you graduate?, he indicated NO. Dillon does not have a college degree; however, he has 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 the previous employees that held this position. They did not have a bachelor’s degree either but had experience which made them a valuable member of our team.”

We asked about Boatner’s qualifications related to computer science, and Barton replied, “Dillon has years of experience in the field of data science, a specialization within the field of computer science.  Specifically, he practiced data science concerning elections during his time researching with the Elections Sciences Working Group at UF, and as a data manager at America Votes.”

We also asked about Boatner’s qualifications or experience with managing and supporting staffs’ computers and external devices, and Barton wrote, “My office contracts with the County IT department to handle most of the office’s IT needs. Dillon’s background provides sufficient experience to assist the chief deputy in performing the routine IT support needs.”

Finally, we asked Barton whether she sees a conflict of interest between Boatner’s work with a campaign that will be on the August 23 ballot and his duties in being directly involved in the process of counting those ballots. Barton said she did not because “Dillon Boatner has no decision-making authority as to when or what ballots are to be canvassed.”

Barton went on to explain that Vote by Mail Ballots are accepted or rejected only by the Alachua County Canvassing Board, and all meetings are open to the public. The 2022 Alachua County Canvassing Board consists of Judge Thomas Jaworski, who serves as the Chair of the board, Alachua County Commissioner Charles Chestnut IV, and Barton. Alternates on the board consist of 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 be assisting and working side-by-side with Chief Deputy Carl Delesdernier under the direction of the Alachua Canvassing Board Members. I also would like to add that at each canvassing board meeting, a county attorney will be assisting the canvassing board as well if any procedural questions arise.”

  • We appreciate the Alachua Chronicle for continuing to hold the Alachua County Elections office accountable!! I’m sure this causes concern for the other candidates in that race.

    • Way to go Chronicle! You know you’re onto something when the local Gannett rag has to put out a ‘nothing to see here folks’ article to run cover for one of their favorites.

  • If this doesn’t have voter fraud written all over it, I don’t know what does.

    Might as well start the investigation now.

    • I’m as right wing conservative as they get, but I know Dillon personally, and I can assure you that he is by far one of the most honest people I’ve ever met, and he’s a man of integrity.

  • This county leans so extremely leftist because of the Gainesville/UF academia influence. Those people get out and vote, and they know how to *get votes* from the susceptible, dependent voters in our area…
    Our local government and the Gainesville Sun are so self important and so smug… I’m sure this latest revelation will be met with a big yawn, unless we share this with our family, friends and social media contacts, donate to the campaigns of the good candidates, and volunteer to reach people with the truth.

    • I doubt there would be a mention of this in the comments if they hired someone on the Commission who is a Republican. Democrat = liberal and corrupt, Republican = good. It gets tiring. Evaluate individuals on their merit. You have no idea about the details of this hire. Like most comments I see on this website, unfortunately, it lacks fact and is only opinion and prejudice. And by the way, I’m not a democrat nor a supporter of the commissioner.

      • Of course! There is always that one person who pulls the political party card. The article never referenced party affiliation and was not based on opinions. She clearly did her research by asking questions and requesting public records then stating FACTS. Nine candidates qualified for the City of Gainesville Mayor race. Not commissioner? So put yourself in their shoes. Voters already have concerns over election integrity. If this position “assists” then the Supervisor should provide the voters with confidence that Boatner will not be participating in the process of interacting with voted ballots. I find it funny that you felt to need to reassure everyone you’re not a democrat. No one asked!

        • I stated that i’m not a democrat because i consistently see comments on this website calling anyone that disagrees with the Right a ‘liberal’ or a ‘democrat’. I’m neither. I find it funny that you mention pulling ‘the political party card’. that’s done on the hour, every hour, on this website.

      • Arreola should be a member of Communist Party USA if he’s not. He’s one of the Gainesville “squad” along with Poe, Saco, and Hayes-Santos. Yeah, they should probably all be locked up for various crimes and corruptions. Trying to cheat in an election is practically a given for people like them.

        • The only thing Poe, Hayes-Santos, Ward & Arreola don’t have in common with the federal members of the “squad” is they don’t wear skirts…that we know of.

          Some hide behind them though.

      • With recent unforced errors of felons voting at the jail and allowing an illegal candidate onto the ACSB ballot, Ms. Barton really would benefit from being more vigilant than to hire a known career political operative for her staff, regardless of the party affiliation of the person involved.

      • The Auditors are Coming again. What utter abuse of law. No wonder Corrine Brown , Andrew Gillum , and Lets Go Brandon are the Heroes of Gainesville City Commisioners and Poedunks, Mary Alford and Dyonne McGraw. Can someonemake a citizens arrest on the lawless Democrats?

  • How cozy. Next maybe she can hire the city commission’s favorite recent Governor candidate: Andrew Gillum who was just indicted on multiple counts of fraud. Poe and Santos were white Gillum wannabes.

      • Yes. There’s reason to think that bias may exist towards Arreola because they live together or share
        The same storage unit.

  • Don’t forget Kim Barton’s statement from earlier this year: “Elections is hard.”

    • (6/15/22) Starting with the 2022 Primary Election, the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections office will offer
       eligible voters the opportunity to use OmniBallot, an accessible, at-home vote-by-mail option. OmniBallot is a secure voting option that allows voters with disabilities to access, mark, and print
       their ballots from home, using their home computers.

  • They may not have asked about his living arrangements, but now that it has come to light, he should resign or be told to resign.

    • No one is going to do anything. There is zero accountability. 2000 Mules are running wild in Alachua County. Happy Ballot Trafficking 2022!

    • Yes…the living arrangements…is Boatner living
      In a storage unit or is he Areola’s lover or something?
      Barton said, “ I don’t ask any of my employees what their
      Living situation is”…has this guy been properly vetted?
      Is there a problem if Arreola & Boatner are in an intimate relationship?
      Society is saying “it’s ok to be gay” now…is that why Barton
      Doesn’t ask what their employees living situation is?
      They should just come out and be open about their
      Relationship and people will understand…that would
      Clear things up…lgbqxyx is ok now…they should just
      Come out of the closet if it’s true love.

      • I know Dillon personally. He has a girlfriend and he’s a man of integrity. I’m a rightwing pro-life Trump supporting conservative, and I’ll still say that Dillon is an honest, dignified, young man of character. He would never cheat. He would never compromise an election. He honestly has a heart of pure gold and wants to help everyone he can. He sees the best in everyone he meets and believes in giving people 2nd chances. While he and I don’t agree on politics, I cannot take away from the fact that he’s a good young man who ALWAYS has the best of intentions..

  • Kramer/Barton/ACSO/GPD Square Dance, grab your partner, prance around, smile like proper Election Clowns

    • (April 25, 2022) Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill (SB) 524, Election Administration, to ensure
      that Florida continues to have secure and accurate elections. This legislation will establish the
      Office of Election Crimes and Security to investigate election law violations.

  • Hiring the campaign manager of a candidate who is on the ballot to a position of counting said ballots. Barton ain’t the brightest bulb.

    • Barton should have learned her lesson after harvesting
      Votes from the jail from convicted felons…is that over
      Yet? Is that employee who resigned going to jail?

  • Hold on babaloui! Did you graduate? NO. Degree received? Bachelors. You can’t have a bachelor’s
    Degree If you don’t graduate. The guy lied on his
    Application…it’s right there! He should be released
    From employment by Barton immediately.

  • The other Democrats in the race are the ones who should be mad! We all know the winner of the race will be a liberal, it’s just a question of which one?

    • They could have their sights set on a larger target, like Kat Cammack, although I don’t think her race will be that close. Or DeSantis himself.

  • We should check David’s emails to see if something is afoot. Oh wait, David only publishes emails he likes and only during election cycles. He also has secret emails he uses for his hand-picked constituents and a private burner phone for his calls with the other commissioners and the city’s chosen ones. Where he lives is in doubt too and should be investigated as we seem to have a lot of politicians that lie about this. Thank you, AC, for staying at the forefront of the corruption in Gainesville. It’s much worse than anyone knows… yet. Stay tuned!

    • Would anybody notice if David Arreola paid Dillon Boatner IN CASH for May 2022-November 2022 Election Services Rendered?

  • Reading these comments it sounds like Kim Barton has been charged, tried, convicted, and sentenced; but for what, a cleverly written article? What I read was a story about hiring someone who is apparently a known commodity in local politically active circles and is considered to be a competent individual already in possession of desirable technical skills and knowledge of the elections office; hence the substitution of real world experience over a completed college degree. Done all the time, folks.

    If there is any question about whether or not this hire is less than on the up-and-up it would not be a problem to request copies of ALL the applicants and look at them. Then make a decision about his fitness for the job.

    I think back several years ago when Craig Lowe apparently had a city position created and then arranged for his campaign manager to be hired for it. And, no, not one single commissioner or charter officer said a damn thing about conflict of interest or obvious violation of the city charter! This case just doesn’t rise to that level at this time.

    • Don’t worry, Kim Barton is above the law. 2000 Mules rule Alachua County, Ballot Trafficking Style

    • If he was hired in Marion County for the same job; no problem. (Or any county anywhere in the United States other than Alachua.) It’s the fact that he was hired in Alachua County for this job where he has a conflict of interest that’s the problem. I’m sure he’s qualified for the job and he should be applying that experience in a location where he does not have the obvious conflict of interest.

      • I agree or if he was hired after the election season. The problem is NOT political party-related or educational experience (although that is interesting) it’s clearly about the closeness. He is too close to the qualified candidate and processes for THIS election.

  • We’re talking about counting votes in a general election and preserving the data, not being Craig Lowe’s personal go-fer or whatever. This job sounds more like Information Systems than Data Science (Barton doesn’t know what Data Science means; Data Science jobs are highly esoteric and pay $100K+). And Information Systems jobs generally require a degree in said field. Said applicant doesn’t sound terribly bright or terribly responsible if we are to believe his story that he voluntarily left UF ten credits shy of a Political Science bachelor’s degree. You can try to smooooth it over, but it’s a scandal.

    • Susan Botcher Bother wants to know how does AngryJewCrew plot and grow?

  • layers and layers of CorporateCovidCommieCrimeTeam want you never having healthy, happy babies

  • Rick (1996): One piece of advice. Slip the cable guy fifty bucks, he’ll give you all the movie
    channels for free. Even the dirty ones.

  • >