Founders & Board

FFEC Founders and Current and Past Board Members

Founder and Executive Director — Susan Pynchon

Since founding Florida Fair Elections Coalition (FFEC) in 2004, Ms. Pynchon has remained dedicated to election integrity throughout Florida and the nation.  Under her leadership, the organization has grown into a respected entity known for its nonpartisan advocacy of fair, transparent, trackable, and secure elections.

Ms. Pynchon has authored numerous reports, together with FFEC research director Mary K. (Kitty) Garber, examining flawed voting systems, analyzing election procedures, and revealing questionable practices in Florida at the state and county levels and by voting machine vendors.   The extensive report prepared by Ms. Pynchon and Ms. Garber on the failure of the iVotronics in the 2006 Congressional District 13 race (where almost 18,000 implausible undervotes affected a race won by a mere 369 votes), was instrumental in Florida abandoning DREs in 2007 and changing to hand-marked paper ballots.

In 2008, Ms. Pynchon was one of four recipients of the Nelson Poynter Civil Liberties Award from the Florida American Civil Liberties Union, presented annually to the person(s) who did the most to advance civil liberties in Florida in the previous year, for “defending voting rights in Florida.”

Ms. Pynchon’s numerous speaking engagements have helped educate Floridians about problems with electronic voting, partisan election administration, and other reform issues. She was featured in the Emmy-nominated, HBO documentary film, “Hacking Democracy,” and has been interviewed by television, radio, and print media to discuss election issues.

Co-Founder and Research Director — Mary K. (Kitty) Garber

A co-founder of Florida Fair Elections Coalition, Ms. Garber has served as the organization’s Research Director since its inception in 2004. In this capacity, she has collected and analyzed election data, prepared reports and studies on election issues, and assisted the executive director and board with other tasks as assigned. Ms. Garber’s discovery of problems with overvote protection on the DS-200 digital scanner led Wisconsin and New York to request changes to that feature prior to certification. As FFEC’s representative to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, she participated in rights restoration workshops throughout Volusia County. In conjunction with Anita Lapidus, FFEC’s legal director, Garber authored election monitoring materials and conducted poll watcher training for hundreds of poll watchers in every election cycle since 2004. Before moving to Florida in 2003, Ms. Garber was a writer and editor on national policy issues for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a minority think tank in Washington. Her articles covered such topics as redistricting, election reform, felon disenfranchisement, minority voting rights, and proportional voting. She served as interim editor of the Joint Center’s public policy magazine for a year before moving to Florida. Ms. Garber holds a B.A. in philosophy from Christopher Newport College of the College of William and Mary and pursued a year of graduate studies at the University of Virginia.

Co-Founder and Administrative Director — Elizabeth S. Camarota

Another of the co-founders of FFEC, Elizabeth S. Camarota, known to all as Beeg, served as treasurer to the board and on staff as financial director and office manager. From the beginning, she has been responsible for day-to-day administrative tasks.She holds a B.S. in Chemistry and Environmental Studies and an M.S. in Economics, both from Baylor University. She is a Certified Environmental Planner by the National Association of Environmental Professions. She worked for fourteen years as an environmental consultant for FPL, U.S. Army Corps, U.S. Navy, City of Miami, and numerous others. She was Senior Financial Analyst for Southeast Bank in Miami for four years. She has been a private financial consultant for twenty-two years.

Co-Founder and Board Member — Sylvia W. Perkins

As a founding member of Florida Fair Elections Coalition and Center, Sylvia Perkins has assisted the organization in many capacities. Most recently, she has researched grant opportunities and worked on other fundraising activities. She has also assisted the staff with the editorial preparation of reports and other documents and assisted with administrative duties.

Currently a Scholar in Residence at Stetson University, Sylvia Walsh Perkins has been an adjunct professor and visiting associate professor of philosophy at Stetson since 1989. She has also taught at Clark College and Emory University in Atlanta, GA. She holds an A.B. degree from Oberlin College, a M.A. in Religion from Yale University, and a Ph.D. from Emory University.

She is the author of numerous books and scholarly articles on the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard. She has served twice as president of the Søren Kierkegaard Society in North America and is a member of the Advisory Board of the International Kierkegaard Commentary. She is also a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Society for Philosophy of Religion, and the National League of American Pen Women.

Co-Founder and General Counsel — Anita Lapidus, Esq. (deceased)

As co-founder of Florida Fair Elections Coalition and Center, Anita Lapidus advised FFEC on legal and legislative issues from its inception. Her opinion on the Volusia County Council’s options during the debate on the purchase of disabled accessible equipment was ultimately vindicated by the courts, while contrary advice and threats from attorneys for the state of Florida, the vendor, and a national disabilities group were repudiated. After the vendor delivered uncertified voting equipment to Volusia and other counties, she drafted a complaint to Florida attorney general objecting to the state’s acquiescence in the unlawful activity. She worked on a lawsuit against the state for its failure to meet its obligations to provide secure elections. In 2006 she collaborated with several state senators to draft a comprehensive paper trail bill. Along with Pynchon and Garber, she lobbied the legislature and worked with established civil rights organizations to devise cooperative strategies for election reform. She held a Juris Doctor from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law where she was an associate editor of the law review and an LLM from Columbia Law School where she was a teaching fellow.

Before Anita and her husband moved to Florida, she was Assistant General Counsel for the Department of Social Services of the City of New York where she was in charge of appeals and complex litigation in addition to developing and commenting on legislation.

Anita passed away July 8, 2015 due to complications from surgery.  She is sadly missed by her colleagues at FFEC who will always honor her for her dedication to free and fair elections.

Treasurer and Board Member—Judy Thompson  

Ms. Thompson received her BA from Vanderbilt University and graduated summa cum laude from Cumberland School of Law, where she served as Articles Editor for the Cumberland Law Review.

After practicing law for several years, she returned to her family’s business, Thompson Tractor Co., Inc., a Caterpillar Tractor dealer for north Alabama, as Vice President and General Counsel. Upon her father’s retirement, Ms. Thompson was approved by Caterpillar as President and CEO of the business. Several years later she left the tractor business to assume the Presidency of the Birmingham Turf Club, a thoroughbred racing facility.

During this period, Ms. Thompson served as a member of the board of directors of a number of community institutions, including being a founding board member of Leadership Birmingham. She has also been President of the Alabama Symphony and President of the Birmingham Metropolitan Development Board and has served on the national board of directors of the National Conference for Community and Justice (formerly the National Conference of Christians and Jews).

In 2004, Ms. Thompson moved to the DeLand area, where she is a partner in The Dressage Center, Inc., DeLeon Springs, and serves as Treasurer and Trustee of the Museum of Florida Art.  She also serves as Treasurer and Trustee of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding in New York City.

Past Board Members:

Spencer Lane , Jerome Axelrod, Carla Christianson, Susan DuPree, Susan Hensley, Lizzie Johnson, Benjamin Perkins, James Pillow, Kim Waddell, David Wilson (deceased), Gwen Azama-Edwards

© 2023 Florida Fair Elections Coalition