Gayle Harrell bill would hold election supervisors accountable for errors

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State lawmakers mostly have focused on early voting reform so far in election proposals, but Representative Gayle Harrell plans to peg her own pitch on the vote-counting woes, reports Jonathan Matisse of the TC Palm.

Harrell said her proposal could go a few directions. It could let the state require pre-election reports detailing how supervisors have prepared; standardize early voting practices and the numbers of workers and equipment; give supervisors a report card on their performance; or other accountability measures. Her suggestions likely would end up in a bigger elections bill targeting Florida’s 2012 election troubles in the March-through-May legislative session.

“(Supervisors of elections) are elected by the people under the constitution,” Harrell said. “They have certain rights and responsibilities, but I think at the end of the day, the state needs to hold them accountable to those responsibilities.”

Sen. Joe Negron said more state oversight could be a plus.

“I want to respect the constitutional authority of local supervisors of elections,” Negron said. “But when we have cases of clear error and incompetence, the state may want to see if we can develop some additional tools to correct that before we end up with the debacle we had in St. Lucie County, for example.”

More from Matisse here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.