In Florida—as in Ohio and Virginia—a victory for (maybe) real elections
Now we need to re-franchise the millions who've been variously Jim-Crowed off the voter rolls, not just in those three states, but coast to coast. (For that, there is a very simple remedy: automatic registration on one's 18th birthday, no exceptions.) MCM
From John Brakey:
BIG WIN! This is the 3rd state in a row that did the directive thing, only because they knew we would sue them if they didn’t do it. Ohio, Virginia, now Florida. Michigan could be #4 with the right connected attorney in Michigan.
Concerned Florida voters scored a victory in Florida by pressuring Secretary of State Ken Detzner’s (R) office to notify all counties about federal and state legal requirements to preserve ballot images. Those are the digital copies needed to verify the outcomes of elections.
This is especially important in the Sunshine State, where voters get to decide two cliffhanger races with major implications for the future of the country.
Both the Senate race and the gubernatorial contest are too close to call and, if Florida’s election history is any guide, they could be headed for recounts.
Therefore, it is especially important that any such recount, as well as potential election audits, are conducted in full compliance with the law.
Concerned that Florida election officials would violate federal law and destroy the ballot images before the legally mandated 22-month preservation period, Attorney Benedict P. Kuehne — on behalf of concerned Florida voters — sent a letter to Detzner earlier this month asking him to instruct state election officials not to destroy the ballot images.
On Wednesday morning, Director of the Division of Elections Maria Matthews sent a letter to all county supervisors of elections with “a few reminders to ensure our elections go smoothly and that every eligible vote is counted.” Included in the letter was a section regarding federal and state public records law as it relates to digital ballot images (by law, digital ballot images must be saved for 22 months after an election):
For those utilizing voting systems that are programmed to capture images of ballots as they are scanned, those images may be subject to retention requirements under the public records law. Supervisors of Elections should consult with their county attorney or legal counsel regarding any questions about public records, and the retention and/or disclosure of such records.
Attorney Chris Sautter worked alongside Kuehne to represent voters in the state who want all election departments to follow the law and retain their ballot images, ensuring a proper chain of custody necessary to verify the elections. Sautter is happy the state sent the notice to all election supervisors.
“We are very pleased, and we consider this another victory,” Sautter said.
However, Sautter said the notice buries their main concern — that voters want election supervisors to know that they are required by law to save the ballot images.
“That’s why we are going to contact them independently of this, so that they get that message,” Sautter said. “We are likely to reference this set of instructions, which we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.”