JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Former Duval County Supervisor of Elections Tommie Bell-Banks died Monday, nearly 20 years after she retired from elected office. She was 91 years old.
Bell worked in supervisor of elections office for most of her working life and was appointed supervisor by Gov. Bob Graham when former Supervisor Harry Nearing retired in 1986. Bell ran unopposed in 1987 and continued to lead the office until she retired in 1999.
“We will all mourn the loss of Mrs. Tommie Bell,” current Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan said. “She worked diligently in this office serving the voters of Duval County for almost 50 years. She was a model of public service who left a legacy of integrity we strive to follow today.”
FROM THE VAULT: Tommie Bell in 1996 WJXT story on voter turnout
Asked in 1998 about the most memorable election she had run, Bell mentioned the referendum to replacing bridge tolls with a half-cent, local sales-tax increase.
"This is concerning people's taxes. When pocketbooks are involved, it brings more people out," Bell-Banks told a Fort Meyers newspaper.
The following year, she told the Florida Times-Union after announcing she would not seek another term: "Now is the time to bow out and enjoy my children and grandchildren."
Public graveside services for Bell-Banks will be held Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at the Town & Country Funeral Home at 7242 Normandy Blvd.