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Florida's chief elections official to Miami-Dade County: Draw new voting precincts now


Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner, the state's chief elections official, paid a visit to Miami-Dade County Hall on Wednesday morning to urge the county not to wait on drawing new voting precincts.

Detzner came from Tallahassee not on anyone's invitation, he said, but to weigh in during a County Commission discussion on the subject. Mayor Carlos Gimenez and his appointed elections supervisor, Penelope Townsley, have planned to delay the new precincts for another year.

Counties are supposed to evenly distribute voters once every 10 years. Miami-Dade has not "re-precincted" since 2002.

"It's not a question of if re-precincting should be done in Miami-Dade County, but when," Detzner said. "When is not later, but I recommend now."

New precincts would shift 55 percent of the county's 1.3 million voters. Some commissioners say they fear that would cause widespread confusion.

To that, Detzner said: "Let's not underestimate the voters of Miami-Dade County."

Townsley unveiled a modified plan Wednesday that would move around far fewer voters -- around 5 percent -- this year.