St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker responds to report

State critical of SLC during election process

After a chaotic election experience that led to cries of incompetence, St. Lucie County's longtime elections supervisor talked about what went wrong in November, and what she plans to do to make things right in the future.


Gertrude Walker says this past election was full of new experiences.


"We never had a multi-ballot election, that was another twist," Walker said Monday.   


But it was old equipment Walker claimed was at the heart of many of the problems her office faced on Election Day.


A report out Friday from the Florida Department of State found at least four instances of memory card failure, a number of ballot scanning errors, and incomplete official results.  Walker's office was also cited for staff inexperience, something she denies.


"My staff is all very long term employees here in the office.  I've been here for 32 years as you know doing this job," Walker countered.


A congressional race and a mayoral race hung in the balance through days of retabulating and protests outside the office.


While St. Lucie County didn't have to make major changes after the controversial 2000 election, many of these voting cards date back to the mid 1990's.


Walker is concerned that future elections could be hampered as well if the county isn't provided access to newer cards.


"I was told they were not manufacturing anymore and that there were none available.  That should have never happened," said Walker.


The state report says Walker should establish a method of checks and balances to ensure accurate ballot counts, coordinate with a large county that has already had multi-card ballot elections, and upload early voting results before Election Day.


Walker says she's confident that in the end, every vote was counted. "We know that the people in office were elected by the people in this county and that the will of the people has been implemented."


As for the recommendations in the state report, Walker says she plans to implement most of them.  First on her agenda though is a meeting Tuesday with the county commission where she will try and get more money to fund all of the overtime her employees worked.

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