A progressive watchdog group named Alachua County the state’s fourth-worst election offender in terms of election administration in a new report, but Supervisor of Elections Pam Carpenter contends its conclusions are flawed. The Center for American Progress Action Fund this week released the report, titled “Florida’s Worst Election Offenders.” The report evaluated Florida’s 40 most populous counties on various factors from the 2012 general election, including provisional ballots cast and rejected, absentee ballots rejected and voter turnout. While the report acknowledged Florida counties had to deal last year with restrictive state election laws, it named six that stood out for their failure to ensure residents could effectively and freely vote. Alachua placed fourth behind Columbia, Putnam and Bay counties. It pointed to Alachua County’s rate of removal for registered voters from its voting lists and its issuance of provisional ballots as red flags. The county eliminated a higher percentage of registered voters from its rolls than any county other than Hillsborough — a figure almost twice the state average — and issued the state’s third-highest percentage of provisional ballots to voters.
After looking deeper into the numbers in the report, Carpenter said a lot of the county’s data is skewed because of its student population and took issue with the report’s use of such figures to name Alachua County a top election offender.
“It’s discouraging that groups are out there putting forth an effort to put out a product like this and then label it the way that they do,” she said.