Miami-Dade County will no longer block the public from obtaining key information that has helped detect attempted voting fraud. Overturning a decision by his appointed elections supervisor, Mayor Carlos Gimenez said Thursday that Internet Protocol addresses for absentee-ballot requests submitted online are public record. Gimenez explained his position in a memo to Commissioner Xavier Suarez, who had asked the mayor to use his executive authority to make the IP addresses available. Supervisor of Elections Penelope Townsley had said she would keep them secret. Gimenez and Townsley both said Thursday they had spoken earlier and agreed to the policy change. “
After reviewing the policies and procedures, it is clear that the collection of IP addresses is a critical and important protocol in place to detect fraud; however, it is incidental but it is not ‘necessary’ to process an Absentee Ballot,” Gimenez wrote.
State statute allows elections supervisors to exempt from disclosure to the general public — but not to political candidates, committees or parties — any absentee-ballot information deemed “necessary.”
Townsley had said IP addresses fell under that designation. She sought an opinion from the Florida division of elections, which said in November that it was up to each county’s elections department to make that determination.