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December 13, 2011 > Special Life Events: Barry Garner

Special Life Events: Barry Garner

Submitted By Gwendolyn Mitchell and Laurel Anderson

Barry Garner will serve as the new Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters. Forty-four year old Garner has more than 20 years of professional experience, of which most has been in key election operations management positions.

Garner most recently served as Director of Registration and Elections Operations for Fulton County, Georgia, which encompasses Atlanta and 13 other cities in the greater metro area. Fulton County's population is about 921,000, with 650,000 registered voters. In this role, he also served as the Supervisor of Elections and as Chief Administrative Officer of the Board of Registration and Elections. Garner also oversaw election district boundaries, directed the voter registration program and held town hall meetings with community stakeholders.

"We look forward to Garner's leadership in Santa Clara County," said County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith. "He understands what it takes to prepare for and conduct transparent voter operations and to win and maintain the confidence of the electorate."

In Fulton County, Garner is credited with creating the county's first Family Voting Day and the successful implementation of the Relia-Vote(tm) system, which streamlined the entire absentee ballot process by folding, stuffing, sorting by precincts and tracking ballots via the U.S. Postal Service, saving the county $2.5M in the first year. He also introduced an automated absentee ballot application for in-person voting that greatly reduced voters' wait time, placed early/advanced voting sites in each of the five Fulton County Commission districts and began publishing a quarterly newsletter.

Having served more than 18 years in senior level elections management positions, Garner has extensive experience as a government elections official. Before joining Fulton County, Garner served as the Assistant Deputy Elections Supervisor for the Miami-Dade County Florida Board of Elections. He was involved in establishing a new voting system to better serve the Miami-Dade area, the eighth largest county in the US, with 1.2 million registered voters.

Prior to working in Miami, Garner was the Director of Elections in Hillsborough, North Carolina. He has also served as the Deputy Director of Elections in Durham, North Carolina. His elections career began in 1994 as Director of Research and Education for the North Carolina State Board of Elections, based in Raleigh. He also served as a Computer Consultant for the State Board. In these roles Garner was responsible for training new elections directors appointed throughout the state.

In his various elections management positions, he was also responsible for directing department functions, operations and oversight, including planning, budgeting, staffing and evaluating the performance of direct reports.

Garner was awarded his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 1989, by North Carolina Central University, Durham.

"I'm honored to have this opportunity to serve as Registrar of Voters of Santa Clara County," said Garner. "As an elections official, I recognize that voting is central to our democracy and way of life. My goal is to use my experience and skills to help ensure effective stewardship of the voting process in the county."

Garner's appointment as Registrar of Voters is effective no later than December 5, 2011. He will be paid $150,519 annually.

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