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Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner seeks to restrict absentee ballots

Detzner says absentee ballots should only be mailed or dropped off at Supervisors of Elections offices

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JUST THE STATS

2.4 MILLION

NUMBER OF FLORIDA VOTERS WHO UTILIZED ABSENTEE BALLOTS IN THE 2012 NOVEMBER ELECTION, OR 28 PERCENT OF THE TOTAL 8.6 MILLION VOTES LOGGED IN THE STATE

105,000

NUMBER OF PINELLAS COUNTY VOTERS – WHERE NEXT YEAR’S DISTRICT 13 CONGRESSIONAL SPECIAL ELECTION WILL TAKE PLACE IN MARCH, AT LEAST IN PART – WHO RETURNED ABSENTEE BALLOTS TO CONVENIENT DROP-OFF LOCATIONS, OR 42 PERCENT OF ALL VOTES IN THAT COUNTY

76,000

NUMBER OF ABSENTEE BALLOTS PINELLAS COUNTY SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS DEBORAH CLARK IS MAILING OUT TO RESIDENTS ON DEC. 10 FOR THE JANUARY CONGRESSIONAL PRIMARY

“IT IS MY DUTY AND RESPONSIBILITY TO PROVIDE UNIFORMITY FOR THE STATEWIDE IMPLEMENTATION OF ELECTIONS. THE DIRECTIVE ISSUED DOES NOT CHANGE ANYTHING IN THE LAW, BUT IS A CLARIFICATION OF EXISTING LAW THAT WAS INITIATED BY QUESTIONS FROM SUPERVISORS OF ELECTIONS THAT PROMPTED US TO ADDRESS THIS ON A STATEWIDE LEVEL.”

– FLORIDA SECRETARY OF STATE KEN DETZNER IN A NOV. 26 STATEMENT

Sources: Tampa Tribune, Tampa Bay Times

Because there hasn’t been enough malfeasance from Gov. Rick Scott’s administration when it comes to voting rights – seriously, between voter identification rules, diminished early voting hours and a twice-baked attempt at purging the voter rolls of nasty immigrants, you would think that voting was a soap opera designed specifically for rich white Republicans in Florida – last week, just in time for a giant turkey to fall on his head, Secretary of State Ken Detzner fired up his mouth-fryer for another go at public relations failure and disenfranchisement.

This time Detzner was hot and bothered about the willy-nilly tossing around of absentee ballots, presumably by get-out-the-vote operations on the Democratic side, because screw them. Detzner wants to make sure that absentee ballots are only accepted by mail or at Supervisor of Elections sites, thereby curtailing the process of having them deliverable to early voting sites or other drop-off points.

The whole kerfuffle has been sourced back to a request for clarification of Detzner’s voter registration guidelines, which now apparently include a clause regarding the regulation of absentee ballots. Curiously, the two supervisors to whom Detzner credits the clarification (that has somehow now translated into a meaningless directive) are both Republicans and are bowing up against the oft-maligned secretary of state for this suffrage hot potato.

“I was merely trying to bring to their attention an error in their [voter registration] guide,” Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley told the Tampa Tribune. “Somehow that got twisted into me asking for an opinion.”

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