Scott tries to fix a non-existent problem
Miami Times Editorial Department | 12/5/2013, 9 a.m.
The State of Florida has a terrible record and reputation when it comes to voting. In the election of 2012, it took the Supervisors of Elections and the Secretary of the State three days to complete counting the ballots. It was extremely embarrassing to the state on a national and local level and an example of a dysfunctional system with no leadership.
In 2000, Ex-Governor Jeb Bush helped his brother Ex-President George Bush win the election, even though there were many counting and voting irregularities. There were three counties that Gore requested be counted by hand and in Palm Beach a large number of ballots were spoiled. There was also a purge of voting rolls where 96,000 Black voters were identified as felons and were turned away at the polls. Governor Scott is always saying that his job is to protect the integrity of the voting system in Florida but it appears that count irregularities come from the state leadership of the election. There is always a pattern of confusion or corruption when it comes to Florida’s voting system. One such change is the restriction of ballot drop-off locations to just Supervisors of Elections offices and it is unclear why the state would seek this change, particularly when it has not been solicited by local supervisors of elections. As a result of this directive, several elections supervisors have criticized the state’s position and many political office holders are claiming that our governor is making it harder to vote. Other political pundits and liberal advocates are questioning the timing of this directive, because there is a special election on March 11, in Pinellas County. The directive says if a voter returns a completed ballot in person instead of by mail, it can only be returned to an election supervisor office.
In the 2012 election in Pinellas County, there were 250,000 absentee ballots because County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark emphasized the convenience of this system. During this election there were 14 drop-off sites such as public libraries, tax collector branch offices and other places. With this new change in absentee ballots, it has been estimated that there would be a low turnout and this would likely favor the GOP.
None of the Supervisors of Elections received an early notice or were invited to a meeting telling them that the State would change the way absentee ballots would be handled. Many are still angry over the sloppy effort Scott’s Secretary of the State managed in last year’s purge of non-citizens form the rolls. The purge started with 182,000 voters that were alleged to be illegal, which was cut to 2,600, and by Election Day had dropped to 192.
The state election supervisors know what they are doing and the absentee ballot system is working. There is no reason to fix something when it is not broken. Instead, the supervisors of elections and the citizens of the state need to help Scott and his administration so they can run an efficient election and not embarrass the state again.
Roger Caldwell is the CEO of On Point Media Group in Orlando.