USF Grad Gives Students the Chance to Vote on Campus

By Remy Dirlam

Students at the University of South Florida finally get the chance to cast their vote on campus at the Yuengling Center Early Voting site, thanks to USF Alum Craig Latimer.

“Eighteen-to-25-year-olds made up the second largest block of voters, only being outdone by 66 and over,” Latimer said. “They accounted for only 10 percent of votes. They don’t come out and vote.”

As the midterm elections approached, Supervisor of Elections in Hillsborough County, Craig Latimer, worked hard to prepare.

“It is very important to vote, you know, that is what our democracy is based on,” Latimer said. “It gives people the chance to make a decision. I tell people all the time if you stay home and don’t vote, somebody else is making the decision for you. And that might not have been your choice.”

Latimer was elected as the Supervisor of Elections in November 2012 and was re-elected in 2016. Latimer was born and raised in Hillsborough County and attended college at the University of South Florida, majoring in Industrial and Technical Education.

“I had retired from the sheriff’s office and I knew that there was a lot that needed to be done here, it seemed that was pretty evident,” said Latimer.

In 2008, Latimer worked as the Chief of Staff for Phyllis Busansky, after retiring from the sheriff’s office. Six months after Busansky was elected, she died, and Earl Lennard came in and finished her term.

“[Lennard] said, ‘You need to run for this, because somebody needs to keep this office going.’ So, I did,” Latimer said.

Supervisor Latimer is the first Supervisor of Elections to earn the Governor’s Sterling Award in Florida. The Sterling Award is the highest award for performance excellence in Florida.

The recipients of the Sterling Award are selected based on an examination done by trained examiners. The winners of this award are expected to serve as role models and share the best practices within the community.

“[My staff] are the ones that are responsible for this,” Latimer said. “It validated to the voters that they can have confidence in this office because we do what we say we are going to do.”

With a new early voting site that has been added on the University of South Florida’s campus, it makes voting easier and more convenient for students.

Since the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, Latimer is anxious to see how the 2018 election will turn out and whether the younger generations will affect the midterm elections.