At the urging of state Sen. Jack Latvala, the Senate will take up voting law changes that include preventing counties from using satellite locations where voters can drop off absentee ballots. The proposal is aimed at Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark, but it antagonized two other supervisors who say dropoff sites save money and are convenient for voters. The Senate plan follows a confrontation in December between Clark and Gov. Rick Scott’s top elections official, Secretary of State Ken Detzner, who ordered an end to dropoff sites because no law allows it. Clark continues to defy the directive and is using five sites in the Congressional District 13 special election.
Clark has allowed voters to leave completed ballots at branch libraries and tax collectors’ offices since 2008, where she said her workers carefully monitor and protect ballots. She sent all Pinellas legislators a letter Thursday saying that if lawmakers ban the practice, it will have a “major impact” on hundreds of thousands of voters and she will have to ask county commissioners for more money.
In an interview airing Sunday on Bay News 9’s Political Connections, Clark is again critical of Detzner: “I do not understand why the secretary of state, the chief elections official for the state of Florida, would want to eliminate an option that voters have to participate by returning their ballot to the ballot dropoff locations.”