Please forgive the lack of posts over the last few months, as my wife and I were a bit distracted by the arrival of our son!
Related to the political debate over the Florida 13th Congressional District Special Election, the issue of the use of absentee ballots became a flashpoint. The two primary sources documents involved, are the Secretary of State’s Directive (the only directive of 2013, and the only one originated by the current officeholder) and a letter from the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections, written in response. News reports state that the two parties spoke and the Secretary decided to not pursue the issue further, but as of this writing the Directive remains in place. What was in dispute was whether a Supervisor of Elections could have voters drop off their absentee ballot at a remote location that was not a typical elections office. The State argued that “drop boxes” were not permitted. Pinellas County argued the “drop boxes” were staffed by Deputy Supervisors of Elections, an audit trail was maintained, and the their goal was ensure that voters had more opportunities to participate in the process.
Legislation related to the issue was filed for this current legislative session, but news reports indicate the bill is presently on hold. The legislative staff analysis cites the dispute and indicates that generally other Supervisors of Elections support their Pinellas colleague. Putting aside the partisan accusations and arguements, the heart of the issue appears to be a very typical conflict in Florida- the issue of state control versus local home rule.