Top elections officials tackle voting issues in Orlando

NewsChannel 5 was the only media to cover event

ORLANDO, Fla. - Scrutiny and potential change could soon be coming to the elections process in the state of Florida. 

The Secretary of State will tour several counties in the coming days where voting problems were present.  This, as top elections officials met in Orange County on Wednesday to figure out what may have gone wrong and how to improve the election process going forward.

Long early voting lines and long election ballots for voters are to of the top challenges that elections supervisors from across the state were discussing in Orlando.

"We've brought suggestions to the legislature that have been ignored," said Susan Bucher, Supervisor of Elections in Palm Beach County. 

Bucher says she wants elections problems solved, but says it will ultimately be up to the legislature and the Secretary of State to listen to her concerns and the concerns of other supervisors in order to find solutions. 

"They're actually asking for input from the supervisors, which is extraordinary and I intend to use that," said Bucher.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner is aiming for solutions as well. He and a team from his office are touring the state over the next week, visiting those counties that had experienced missteps or major slowdowns during this election cycle.  Bucher's office will be where Detzner makes one of his stops.

"They had a problem with the printing of their ballots which caused a delay in some of the absentee ballots getting out in time and had a few other issues in addition to some long lines," said Detzner about the Palm Beach County elections office. 

Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker can expect a visit from Detzner as well. 

"St. Lucie County, unfortunately, was the only county out of all 67 that did not report their official results on time," he said.

At a strategy session in Orlando on Wednesday, more than a dozen members of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections discussed possible ways to improve voting practices. Many of the supervisors talked about asking the legislature to limit the length of ballots and also preventing long early voting lines by making voting locations more accessible and perhaps larger.

Detzner said both of those concerns are priorities for his office. 

"I'm not looking to point fingers or to take blame on anybody," he said.  "We're looking for solutions to help the county supervisors, to help the local electorate."

Martin County Supervisor of Elections Vicki Davis is on board to make significant changes as well. "We want to make it faster, more efficient, smoother for our voters," she said.

Lawyers for the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections were also present at Wednesdays meeting. 

Attorney Ron Labasky attempted to prevent media from being able to attend this Legislative Committee meeting, but changed course when NewsChannel 5 cited the state's 'Sunshine Law', which provides full access to any meeting where elected public officials gather to discuss foreseeable action to be taken by that committee or commission.

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