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State elections chief will send team to Miami-Dade

Secretary of State Ken Detzner told a Senate committee Tuesday that he plans to dispatch a team of experts to Miami-Dade next week to investigate more fully the "problem" with the recent election, including long lines at the polls and an overwhelming surge of last-minute absentee ballots.

Detzner, who is Gov. Rick Scott's chief elections officer, said Miami-Dade is one of five Florida counties his staff will make fact-finding visits to next week. 

Referring to Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Detzner said: "The mayor gets it. He knows what the problem is in Dade County and how to solve the problem."

Testifying before the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee, Detzner said the "problem" could be anything from a lack of early voting sites to a lack of money for office operations.

Detzner said the problem os "underperformance" will also be investigated in Broward, Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Lee counties. He said he would report all of his findings to Gov. Rick Scott in January.

Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, got Detzner to acknowledge that Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections Penelope Townsley knew six months before Election Day that the ballot would be one of the longest in Florida's history. "They knew about the 10-page ballot as early as May, right?" he asked. "Yes, sir," Detzner replied.

-- Steve Bousquet