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Ken Detzner: Expect Personnel Changes Inside St. Lucie Elections Office

December 16, 2012 - 6:00pm

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner expects to see some personnel changes in the St. Lucie County supervisor of elections office as he continues his review of the 2012 election for Gov. Rick Scott.

Detzner said Monday he is waiting for a report from St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker about the proposed changes they discussed during a closed door meeting last Thursday.

She said shes going to make some changes and I think shell do it, Detzner said following the vote of Floridas presidential electors in the Senate chambers.

Detzner wouldn't elaborate the changes he expects, but added that in small and medium-size counties its important" election staff can perform more than a single function.

Walker declined to discuss changes that may be made after meeting with Detzner last week, but expressed confidence that the election numbers tabulated by her office -- that just missed the state mandated deadline -- are correct.

However, U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Palm Beach Gardens, questioned the numbers out of St. Lucie County, while other elected officials verbally blasted the office, because of problems with early voting results and tabulating machines.

Detzner will be meeting with supervisors from Bay and Madison counties later this week in Tallahassee after a swing through troubled South Florida counties last week. He will again meet with the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections after the Christmas holiday.

His final report for the governor is expected to be completed in late January.

Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, has requested that the supervisors from the five most troubled counties in the 2012 general election -- Lee, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, Broward and St. Lucie -- appear before his Senate Ethics and Elections Committee.

Detzner toured the counties last week, hearing from supervisors that the long lines that were prominently featured in the media could have been cut down by extending the number of early voting days back to 14 from eight and giving counties more flexibility as to where early voting locations could be set up.

An audit of the St. Lucie office remains pending. A team from Detzners office was on hand in St. Lucie as ballots were being refed through the machines the weekend after the general election.

Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.

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