« Advocacy group petitions Bondi to end ban on medicinal marijuana | Main | Predictable voting debacle? Lawmakers foresaw trouble in 2011, but their proposals were shot down »

Scott not taking lead in elections reforms

 TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Rick Scott heralded a meeting Wednesday between his Secretary of State and supervisors of elections as a game changer in getting to the bottom of Florida’s voting problems.

“Florida’s elections supervisors are experts in their fields and many of them demonstrated tremendous expertise in running their elections,” said a news release from his office. “We want to hear their ideas. Sec. (Ken) Detzner will meet today with the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections to get their feedback and insight.”

Scott has much to answer for in the days following Tuesday’s election. His state was last in getting called for Pres. Barack Obama, long lines plagued polling sites in Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange and Lee counties, Palm Beach County was still counting absentees on Saturday, and now St. Lucie County’s elections supervisor has admitted to double counting votes that could muddy the outcome in the U.S. congressional race between Democrat Patrick Murphy and GOP Rep. Allen West.

But aside from finally acknowledging that there were major problems, Scott has offered few solutions or insights, essentially ceding the bully pulpit to potential rivals (hello Charlie CristPam Iorio) and Democratic leaning groups like the AFL-CIO, all of whom are pushing for major reforms.

Wednesday’s meeting between the supervisors and Detzner didn’t clarify what, if any, solutions Scott will provide.

Detzner met for 90 minutes in the law office of Ron Labasky, the lobbyist for the association. Other attendees were the association’s executive board members, who represent Clay, Escambia, Polk, Duval and Martin counties – all of which are rural are suburban counties with Republican majorities that lack the dense urban precincts of counties like Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, Palm Beach, Hillsborough and Pinellas.

Labasky said the group recommended two fixes: limiting the size of the ballot, so it doesn’t take as long for voters to fill out and consider, and giving supervisors greater flexibility in picking early voting sites. Right now, they are limited to confining early voting to governmental buildings.

The group didn’t recommend expanding the early voting period, Labasky said, which other groups have been pushing.

“We as an association don’t have any consensus on that issue,” Labasky said.

But even the two recommendations that were made Wednesday to Detzner are hardly news. The association has been pushing for greater leeway in choosing early voting sites for years. Many also complained about the length of the ballot. Democrats tried to amend a voting law passed last year by reflecting those concerns, but that was rejected by Republicans.

So what came of the meeting?

“I hope there’s progress in that we’re having this dialogue about early voting sites,” Labasky said. “But (Detzner’s) not indicating that he has his arms around it so that he has any ideas for us or a position that they may follow.”

After the meeting, which was closed to the public, Detzner was even more non-committal.

“It’s a little premature for me to say what we’re going to address,” Detzner said. “It’s important to step back and go into a fact finding mode and make the right kind of recommendations.”

He said he didn’t know when he would make those recommendations, which he added would be vetted by his boss, Scott.

“At the right time, I’ll share it with you and everyone else,” he said. 

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Shirley Munox

Of course he has no suggestions after all he engineered this fiasco. His only problem is why the voter suppression didn't work. Florida was able to carry out an election successfully before Scott.

naplesbob

I have a suggestion; Fire any Supervisor of Elections, that once again experienced these same type problems. How many elections must come and go that cause this great state to be called Floriduh? One more thing that would definatly help is to fire the presend Sec. of State; Ken in my opinion is one of Scott's many Toadies. A Toadies is some one that will do (even knowing it's wrong)another person's dirty work. Do I believe there was overt attempts to supress the vote; absolutely. Was it just in Florida? Absolutely not. Will the Republican control U.S. House of Representatives hold A.C.O.R.N. like hearings? Absolutely not; as they would then expose what actually happened. I'm glad the lazt, old, poor, young Military, disabled people (the 47%) outlasted this vile attempt. I salute any and all that stuck it out after the state tried to stick it to "real" Americans.

west coast guy

In Scott's view the only thing that needs fixing is making sure next time that voter supression works. Determined voters in 2012 spoiled Scott's plans, and he won't let that happen again.

Kh

The only supervisor of elections who can be fired by the person who appointed her is the supervisor of elections in Miami-Dade County. Rick Scott cannot unilaterally and willy-nilly fire a supervisor of election in any county. Thank, God. There are 67 supervisors of elections in Florida. Sixty-six (66) of those supervisors are elected by the voters in their respective counties. One supervisor of election is appointed. That supervisor is the supervisor of election in Miami-Dade County who is appointed by the mayor of Miami-Dade County as specified in the Miami-Dade County charter. This means that 66 supervisors of election can be fired only by the voters. The one supervisor of election who does not depend upon voters to hold her accountable is the supervisor of elections in Miami-Dade County. She is only accountable to the whimsy of the Miami-Dade County mayor. So "Naplesbob," if you want to fire your supervisor of election, then vote to fire him or her in the general election that will take place in November, 2015. Rick Scott has nothing to do with who the election supervisor is in 66 counties other than his power to remove him or her for "malfeasance or misfeasance in office." But he can't remove the election supervisor in Miami-Dade County because she is an appointee/employee of the Miami-Dade County mayor. The cure for the Miami-Dade County problem that continues to happen in the really important elections (2000 and 2012 presidential elections) is for that county's voters to demand a change to the Miami-Dade County charter. Hope this information is helpful.

Steve Matunithor

Detzner's conclusion: "So, the biggest impediments to efficient voting were site issues and the length of the ballot. Good to know."

John N Florida

Kh; you're correct in the method of selection. Let it be noted, however, that when a Federal Court gave the 5 counties covered under the Voting Rights Act latitude to open for extra hours 'unless they voluntarily decided to follow the estate's rules', 4 out of 5 rolled over. The one who didn't was threatened by Scott.
One other point; the Supervisors of Elections have no control over the resources the state provides at election time. Those machines and support equipment are allocated by the state through the Secretary's office.
Scott's summation was that the high turn out was what strained the system, i.e. Florida voters choosing to vote was unexpected.??????????????

naplesbob

Kh, I'm not certain you are correct here. As many S.O.E. refused to proceed with the first voter purge; and Scott did theaten to fire the S.O.E. of Monroe County. He didn't of course and perhaps he found out he could not. "If" you are correct; "I" will campaign to have any and all partisan S.O.E.'s voted out of office. As it stands now; I've ask mine; Jennifer Edwards to resign in an open letter the the editor of the Naples Daily News!!!

The comments to this entry are closed.