WUFT News

State Will Involve Florida Election Supervisors In Updating Voter Rolls

By on September 13th, 2013
At 12 S.E. 1st St., Pam Carpenter, Alachua County supervisor of elections, works on maintaining an eligible voters roll. She was among 62 supervisors, each hailing from major counties throughout the state, who were invited to the "Project Integrity" tour, Secretary of State Ken Detzner's brainchild designed to increase transparency among eligible voters.

Zack Peterson / WUFT News

At 12 S.E. 1st St. in Gainesville, Pam Carpenter, Alachua County supervisor of elections, and her staff maintain an eligible voters roll. Carpenter was among 62 supervisors, each hailing from major counties throughout the state, invited to the state's "Project Integrity" tour.

The issue of ineligible voters in Florida has reemerged.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced Wednesday the launch of “Project Integrity,” a tour promoting open discussions among election supervisors about maintaing eligible voter rolls.

The goal is to collaborate with supervisors, Detzner said.

“Through transparency and the statutory due process protection afforded to every voter,” he said, “we can ensure the continued integrity of our voter rolls while protecting the voting rights of eligible voters from those who may cast an illegal vote.”

The tour will stop in five locations during early October.

After hearing of the tour midweek, several supervisors of elections from North Florida agreed with Detzner that changes are necessary.

“I know that we all have the same goal: And that’s to have the best Florida registration database that we can possibly have while still preserving the rights of all Florida voters eligible to vote,” said Pam Carpenter, Alachua County supervisor of elections.

In years past, Carpenter said, that hasn’t been happening.

Carpenter is referring to the attempted 2012 voter removal that Republican Gov. Rick Scott initiated.

The state first provided counties with a list of 180,000 voters suspected of not being citizens — numbers derived by comparing a list of driver’s licenses with voter registration data.

There were major inconsistencies. Another list was constructed, but because several supervisors of elections questioned the accuracy of the information, many threw out the lists.

“It had not been vetted as well as it could have been,” Carpenter said.

In Bradford County, 12 names were returned with suspicions, said supervisor of elections Larry Vaughan. Only one was actually a non-citizen.

“I think we did receive verification that there was no citizenship, and we took care of it,” Vaughan said. “But that’s a very troubling statistic — that only one out of 12 turned out to be a person who should have been targeted.”

It’s difficult for supervisors to decide who should be removed from the voter roll when state information has a track record of being inconsistent, he said. The consequences of an incorrect decision can be awful and led critics to call Florida’s approach a “purge.”

“To take away someone’s voting rights when we didn’t have the right to is an incredibly egregious thing to do,” Vaughan said. “We want to avoid that at all costs.”

Vaughan’s hope is through collaboration, the supervisors and Detzner will be able to produce credible methods of obtaining accurate voter information. He’s optimistic.

And he’s hesitant.

“Any time you can get accurate information that would allow you to maintain the integrity of your voter rolls, that’s something you should be interested in, but we’ve got to have verification that the information is accurate,” Vaughan said.

Marion County supervisor of elections Wesley Wilcox understands the challenge state officials face.

“They’re dealing with almost 12 million registered voters,” he said. “Any mistake they make gets amplified.”

He wants to make the state’s voter rolls “as accurate as possible without going on a witch hunt.” He also welcomes Detzner’s invitation to collaborate because in years past, supervisors have been missing from the process.

“It seems like each of the lists that have been published in the past were published solely from the Department of State without any input from supervisors,” Wilcox said. “I commend the inclusion of supervisors of elections. There’s no one who knows the jurisdiction’s voters better.”

Meeting times (Eastern Standard Time unless otherwise noted):

Oct. 3, Thursday, 1 p.m. (CST) – Bay County Area Supervisor Roundtable 830 W. 11th St., Panama City

Oct. 4, Friday, 11 a.m. – Duval County Area Supervisor Roundtable 105 E. Monroe St., Jacksonville

Oct. 7, Monday, 1 p.m. – Orange County Area Supervisor Roundtable 119 W. Kaley St., Orlando

Oct. 8, Tuesday, 10 a.m. – Sarasota County Area Supervisor Roundtable  101 S. Washington Blvd., Sarasota

Oct. 9, Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. – Broward County Area Supervisor Roundtable 115 S. Andrews Ave., Room 102, Fort Lauderdale


This entry was posted in Politics and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Politics

Feds Take Aim at Scott ‘LIP’ Lawsuit

Federal officials filed documents Monday responding to a lawsuit by Gov. Rick Scott. The suit says the federal government “engaged in unconstitutional coercion” to make Florida expand its Medicaid program, while federal officials say this is a baseless claim.


Florida Advances To Online Voting Registration

Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill that would implement an online voter registration system for Florida. The system is planned to be in place by 2017.


Lopez-Cantera ‘Strongly Considering’ Senate Bid

Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera publicly confirmed Saturday that he is considering running for U.S. Senate in 2016. He announced his possible candidacy at the executive board meeting during the Republican Party of Florida’s quarterly meeting at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando.


Florida’s_Historic_Capitol_and_Florida_State_Capitol_2

Governor Scott Signs 28 Bills Into Law This Week

Governor Rick Scott signed almost three dozen bills into law this week. The new laws address issues ranging from revenge porn to the use of drones.


Marijuana graph

County Commissioners Discuss Misdemeanor Marijuana Issues

The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office performed a case study on marijuana charges from 2013 to 2014. Its findings sparked discussion about the appropriate response to stand-alone misdemeanor marijuana charges during Alachua County Commissioners meeting Tuesday.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments