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Broward collects absentee ballots on the road

by @amysherman1

Secretary of State Ken Detzner issued a directive to election supervisors last week stating that they “should not solicit return of absentee ballots at any place other than a supervisor’s office.” Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark plans to ignore the directive and continue to allow voters to return absentee ballots at drop-off locations during the upcoming election to replace the late U.S. Rep. Bill Young.

But what exactly meets Detzner’s definition of “any place other than supervisor’s office?”

In Broward, voters can submit their completed absentee ballots to an election staffer who drives the “Election Connection” van to various announced spots.

Broward Supervisor Brenda Snipes told Naked Politics that she hasn’t talked to anyone in Detzner’s office about whether the van complies with his directive but she believes it does because it is “an office on wheels.” (We will post an update if we get a reply from Detzner’s spokeswoman about the van.)

The employee who drives the van registers voters, updates their information and collects absentee ballots.

“It is equipped like our office with most election functions...,” Snipes said.

In Broward, voters can’t submit their completed absentee ballots at early voting or election day polling sites, Snipes said. Voters are allowed to go to those polling sites and cancel their absentee ballot if they decide they would rather vote in person.

Snipes said it would create confusion to allow voters to submit completed absentee ballots -- along with those cancelled absentee ballots -- at already busy polling sites on election days.

“I don’t want to lose an absentee ballot,” she said.