Secretary of State Ken Detzner and Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark appear to have resolved their differences over where absentee ballots can be collected in the special election to replace the late Congressman C.W. Bill Young. According to a letter from Detzner to Clark released late Tuesday, the two spoke earlier in the day and Detzner will not take the dispute to court to try to enforce a directive ordering supervisors that they should only accept completed absentee ballots at their offices. “Again, as we discussed earlier, we believe that your quick work to amend your voting security procedures is essential prior to a single-county Special Election for Congressional District 13,” Detzner wrote. “I do not see the need for any further legal action at this time.”
Some supervisors, including Clark, have used secure boxes at locations like early voting sites to make it easier for absentee voters to cast their ballots. Clark had said she would continue to do so in the special election. Voters are expected to go to the polls Jan. 14 for the primary to replace Young, who died in October. The general election is slated for March 11.
Detzner issued a directive Nov. 25, in response to what his office said are questions from some county supervisors about new language in the state’s voter-registration guide telling voters not to return their completed absentee ballots to early voting locations.
Some supervisors provide secure boxes at early voting sites for that purpose. “Supervisors should not solicit return of absentee ballots at any place other than a supervisor’s office, except for the purpose of having the absentee ballots cancelled if the voter wants to vote in person,” Detzner wrote in the directive.