Gov. Rick Scott announced that Secretary Detzner will begin meeting today with supervisors of elections to discuss what areas of Florida’s election process need to be improved. The Secretary will hold additional meetings following the certification of Florida’s election results later this month.
Governor Rick Scott said, “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.
“Florida’s election supervisors are experts in their fields and many of them demonstrated tremendous expertise in running their elections. We want to hear their ideas. Sec. 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 US 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 Senate’s bipartisan committees on elections should begin to publicly discuss this topic at their first opportunity,” Governor Scott said.
Issues of discussion for the Secretary’s meetings with supervisors will include wait times at polling places. The Secretary will also seek information on why certain counties such as Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties were unable to report their preliminary absentee results in a timely manner, and why St. Lucie County needed to retabulate their election results several days after Election Day.
Nearly 8.5 million votes were cast in Florida’s 2012 General Election, including nearly 2.4 million absentee votes and more than 2.4 million early votes. Both the overall vote total and the absentee vote total were state records for Florida. The Election Canvassing Commission will meet on November 20, 2012, to certify the returns for federal, state, and multicounty offices.
Today, Governor Rick Scott released the following statement, outlining his call for election reforms after a briefing with Secretary of State Ken Detzner:
“I asked Secretary Detzner to meet with election supervisors following the November election to identify specific ways we can fix the problems we saw in some counties with long lines and delayed reporting. Our ultimate goal must be to restore Floridians’ confidence in our election system. I asked Sec. Detzner for a report with specific election reform recommendations, because I want to ensure we do whatever possible to improve our election system from the statewide level.
“In short, these reforms need to address the three major areas I have previously outlined. We need shorter ballots. We need more early voting days, which should include an option of the Sunday before Election Day. And, we need more early voting locations. From my briefing with Sec. Detzner today, I believe all these reforms are strongly supported by the input and experiences of local election supervisors and others that the department met with for ideas on improving our current system – a system clearly in need of improvement.
“The detail of these three overarching reforms will include, but is not limited to, the following:
“I appreciate the secretary’s work in support of our goal to give all Floridians confidence in the fairness and accessibility of our election system. We must continually push to make improvements, and I look forward to working with the Legislature on a bi-partisan bill to implement these reforms this session. I also appreciate the Legislature and the Supervisors of Elections for their feedback in committee meetings this week. As the Legislature continues its work, I look forward to working together to craft legislation that will ensure successful elections by making these important statewide reforms.”
February 4, 2013
Today, Governor Rick Scott made the following statement on Secretary of State Ken Detzner’s report with recommendations to improve the state’s election system, following the 2012 election. Sec. Detzner’s final report on recommended election improvements is available here.
Governor Scott said, “This report details three key reforms our state needs to improve our election system and restore voter confidence. It recommends changing current law to shorten the length of the ballot, add more days for early voting – from eight to 14 days, including the option for supervisors of elections to open polls on the Sunday before Election Day, and increase the size of voting locations to better accommodate voters.
“When I first asked Sec. Detzner to begin interviews with elections officials and local leaders following the 2012 election, we knew that improvements needed to be made. Following the November election, many Floridians were frustrated with the inefficiencies, confusion, and delays they found at some voting locations. Most counties did not experience any significant difficulties or delays. These recommendations by the Secretary of State are important reforms that can be done at the statewide level. I have also asked Sec. Detzner to continue to work with those counties who need additional assistance or support to improve their systems, outside of statewide election law changes.
“Our goal is to ensure our election system is fair and accessible so every Floridian has the confidence that their vote counts. I am grateful for the detailed work of Sec. Detzner in forming these recommendations over the last few months, the supervisors of elections who gave him input, and all those who participated from every level of government. I look forward to working with the Legislature as we turn these three key recommendations into law over the weeks and months ahead.”