New Collier County Supervisor of Elections explains goals for 2024

Reporter: Michelle Alvarez Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

A new person is in charge of elections in Collier County, and she has the seal of approval from both her predecessor and Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Melissa Blazier was appointed to the position of Collier County Supervisor of Elections after working in the elections office for 17 years, hoping to one day take charge.

“I’ve been in Collier County my whole life,” Blazier said. “I grew up in Collier County, went through the public school system. It’s nice to know everyone in the community, and I’ve had a lot of community support.”

Blazier replaces the retiring Jennifer Edwards, who held the office for more than 20 years. Blazier served as Edwards’ chief deputy for the last decade.

“It’s not anything that’s brand new to me,” Blazier said. “The title has changed, but none of the staff has changed. We’ve just all kind of reorganized a little bit.”

In her retirement letter to DeSantis, Edwards recommended Blazier as her replacement.

“I waited about two months to get a phone call from the governor’s appointments office,” Blazier said. “The governor himself does not call you, but he does have a director of appointments, and she called me Friday afternoon to give me the good news.”

Blazier now has to find someone to fill the role of chief deputy she once occupied. But her top priority is the 2024 election cycle.

“We have contracts we need to put into place; we need to secure polling locations and really solidify our plans for 2024,” Blazier said. “I think a lot of what everyone will see will kind of look the same. But just know that we’ve got 2024 as that’s the only thing we’re thinking about right now.”

Collier County is home to more than 261,000 registered voters as of early April. Blazier said she plans to continue to motivate people to register while continuously looking for ways to improve elections.

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