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Elections officials incensed over Scott's 'rating system'

Florida supervisors of elections are incensed with Gov. Rick Scott and his chief elections official over what they say is a flawed and inaccurate survey that ranks them in eight areas. Elections officials went public with their frustrations on Thursday in hopes of keeping the governor's office from posting survey results online that they say are inaccurate.

"The process was flawed from the start," said Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Deb Clark. "Questions and procedures were unclear, obviously written by people who can cite statutes, but have no understanding of what is required to conduct an election."

The survey results appear below.

The idea came from Scott, a firm believer in accountability and measurement. Election supervisors are not political appointees; they are independently-elected constitutional officers, like sheriffs or court clerks. 

The supervisors had a contentious 90-minute conference call on Wednesday with Secretary of State Ken Detzner. During that conference call, the elections officials cited inaccuracies in the survey and asked the state to delay posting the results online. "Our request was denied," Clark said in an email to Pinellas legislators. "So they are posting information they know is incorrect."

The survey rated elections officials in areas such as how quickly they posted their first election night results; when they mailed absentee ballots; and when they notified the public of early voting sites. Supervisors also received extra credit if they mailed in the survey results ahead of the deadline, which Pasco Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley called "silly."

"This is completely devoid of any statutory validity," Corley said. "I'm almost embarrassed ... it's sad."

The governor's office and Detzner's office have no immediate reaction to the criticism. Worth noting: One of the lowest-rated supervisors of election in the state is a Scott appointee, Thomas Hardee of Madison County, who was appointed by the governor last year when his predecessor was charged with elections fraud.

-- Steve Bousquet