Secretary of State Ken Detzner has started meeting with county election officials to discuss why it took days for Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties to count absentee ballots and why ballots had to be retabulated in St. Lucie County.
Gov. Rick Scott, in a media release, announced that Detzner will first discuss the problems that cropped up in the Nov. 6 contest with the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections before seeking input from county election supervisors.
We need to make improvements in our election process, Scott stated in the release. If even one Floridian has lost confidence in our voting process, we need to do whatever we can to make sure that confidence is restored.
Detzner, who has sent an audit team to St. Lucie County as U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Palm Beach Gardens, continues to dispute the results, has declared that wait time at election sites will be reduced in future elections because several counties reported people waiting up to six hours to cast their ballots during early voting and on Election Day.
On Tuesday, House Speaker-designate Will Weatherford said a House committee will be directed to address Floridas latest election fiascos.
Were seven days from the election and were still trying to figure out what the problems were, the Wesley Chapel Republican told reporters on Tuesday.
Whatever the solutions are, they reduce the fact that you shouldnt have to sit in line for six hours to get your vote to count and we shouldnt be counting votes on a Saturday following an election.
Weatherford's comments came as a coalition headed by the League of Women Voters on Tuesday held a pair of media conferences in Orlando and Miami seeking a statewide task force to address election reform. On Wednesday Florida Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, was joined in Tampa by former Gov. Charlie Crist to announce he will file election reform legislation for the 2013 session.
Rick Scotts statement on Detzners election review:
We need to make improvements in our election process. If even one Floridian has lost confidence in our voting process, we need to do whatever we can to make sure that confidence is restored. Florida has 67 independent, elected or appointed election supervisors who run elections in their counties and most of them did not have excessive lines or other problems tabulating votes.
I have asked Secretary Detzner to meet most immediately with those election supervisors who experienced lines in excess of four hours and those who took several days to tabulate votes and report results. Floridians should not have to wait several days for the results of a major presidential election to be tabulated because of the delays in a few counties when the majority of counties -- including major metropolitan areas -- have been counted.
Floridas election supervisors are experts in their fields and many of them demonstrated tremendous expertise in running their elections. We want to hear their ideas. Secretary Detzner will meet today with the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections to get their feedback and insight. He will then meet with any election supervisor, all of whom are elected by voters in their county or appointed, who want to give their input into our election process.
Additionally, we encourage legislators to have a bipartisan, open and vigorous discussion about what changes may need to be made to current Florida election law in the upcoming session. This election was conducted in accordance with Florida law, which was passed by the Legislature last year. The law was then found by the U.S. Department of Justice and federal courts to be in compliance with the Voting Rights Act. But, we should now evaluate whether additional statutory changes need to be made after this election is complete. The House and Senates bipartisan committees on elections should begin to publicly discuss this topic at their first opportunity.
Reach Jim Turner at email@example.com or at (772) 215-9889.