Stafford testifies on Florida election process (testimony)

As I reported last week, Escambia Supervisor of Elections David Stafford and nine other supervisors testified yesterday about their experiences during the 2012 General Election before the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee, chaired by Senator Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater).

The meeting, lasting from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., was held outside of the regularly planned meeting schedule in order to accommodate a thorough discussion with election supervisors.

During the meeting, Supervisors discussed election achievements and shortfalls ranging from long lines and vote tabulation equipment to early voting locations and funding. Committee members heard presentations on the background of early voting and ballot length.

Stafford told the committee, “Change has been a constant theme in Florida election administration since I first took office in 2005.”

He told them that the biggest challenges he faced during the 2012 election cycle:

1. The length of the ballot and the complexity of the election.
2. The new statutory limitation of early voting and problems with availability of statutorily-authorized early voting sites.
3. Large number of Uniformed Service & Overseas (UOCAVA) voters requesting a significant number of ballots in the final few days.
4. Verification policy for absentee ballots.

Here is Stafford’s testimony: Stafford testimony

Additionally, committee members participated in a panel discussion with the supervisors regarding their experiences during the 2012 election.

“Today we heard in detail about some issues that seemed to impact the entire state, while others were isolated to individual counties,” said Chair Latvala. “We were also able to ask specific questions, such as why certain early voting locations already provided for under current law were not utilized during the 2012 election and also what steps were taken and when to accommodate a longer ballot.”

“Moving forward the Ethics and Elections Committee will utilize the valuable feedback we heard today as we continue to work to identify changes to our elections laws that would give Floridians better access to the polls and ensure that our counties report their results in an efficient and timely manner,” continued Chair Latvala.

Sen. Latvala produced this video with the comments on the meeting.