Here we go again. The state’s top elections officer is attempting to dictate another policy that local elections supervisors say is unnecessary and an impediment to thousands of voters. This time, Secretary of State Ken Detzner is telling the state’s supervisors to eliminate any remote sites — such as libraries or other public buildings — where voters could drop off an absentee ballot during early-voting hours. Detzner says his directive is meant to clarify a state law that stipulates the return of absentee ballots be restricted to the office of the supervisor of elections. But it’s only his interpretation of the law, and state elections supervisors should challenge that interpretation before agreeing to eliminate the popular remote sites. If Detzner’s interpretation is upheld, state lawmakers should change the statute to allow for the remote sites. The supervisors this week were once again caught by surprise by Detzner and left to wonder why they are being told to eliminate a practice that makes it easier to vote.
“I was flabbergasted,” Hillsborough Supervisor Craig Latimer said. “It’s a perfect example of a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.”
Latimer has 13 sites at libraries in Hillsborough County where voters can drop off absentee ballots. He stations an elections worker at the site to monitor the box, and the ballots are retrieved each day and delivered to the central office. There is no security issue.
Without the 13 remote sites, voters in Hillsborough wanting to drop off an absentee ballot will be forced to drive to the downtown office and jockey for a parking spot, or drive to the supervisor’s office in Brandon, which is no picnic for residents in far southern and northern reaches of the county.
Full Article: State elections officials should stop meddling.