Auditor General: State Voting System Flawed

Jul 28, 2015

Embattled Secretary of State Ken Detzner, Governor Rick Scott’s elections czar, is under fire in the wake of an auditor general’s report citing serious problems with Florida’s central voting system.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner, Gov. Rick Scott's elections czar, is under fire for an auditor general's report citing major problems with the state's voting system.

Update

Detzner stressed that the 14 administrators and experts the audit cited in its access concerns had undergone criminal background checks.

Detzner was first appointed by former Gov. Jeb Bush and helped transition the position from an elected to an appointed one. Scott appointed him in 2012. He is a former lobbyist and campaign finance director with no direct election experience.

He has had a stormy relationship with the Florida Senate, and was not confirmed during the last session. Scott responded with an interim appointment. The Senate will have to confirm him next year or he loses  his job.

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Veteran Leon County elections supervisor Ion Sancho is warning Florida could once again be a national laughing stock.

The report cites seven major shortcomings, including security concerns, lack of oversight of maintenance and a failure to test an emergency response system since 2011.

Sancho is calling for Detzner’s ouster, saying he lacks the proper credentials and has repeatedly misled local supervisors.

“We’ve had failure at the secretary of state’s office. The audit shows that there’s clear incompetence in terms of management performance, security protocols, recording protocols, record keeping. This is about a damning report as I’ve ever seen.”

Pasco elections supervisor Brian Corley, head of the state supervisors association, says Detzner failed to mention the audit when they met less than two weeks ago. He is planning to talk to Detzner in the next few days.

“As they would say in ‘I Love Lucy,’ he’s got some ‘splaining to do. I mean that respectfully, of course.”

In one of Detzner's responses to the audit, he stressed the criminal background checks of administrators with access to the system, including top administrators.

Detzner declined to be interviewed. A spokeswoman says Detzner has kept local supervisors appraised of upgrades to the voting system, including an email sent Monday night.  His office provided a series of notices sent to supervisors dating back to 2014.

Detzner stressed that the 14 administrators and experts the audit cited in its access concerns had undergone criminal background checks.

Detzner was first appointed by former Gov. Jeb Bush and helped transition the position from an elected to an appointed one. Scott appointed him in 2012. He is a former lobbyist and campaign finance director with no direct experience.

He has had a stormy relationship with the Florida Senate, and was not confirmed during the last session. Scott responded with an interim appointment. The Senate will have to confirm him next year or he loses his job.