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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Grand jury should probe Clark, Democrat says



Img_2430 In what Republicans label a "stunt," Democratic National Committeeman Jon Ausman wants a grand jury probe of Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark for "possible misfeasance" because she offers three early voting sites in a county with nearly 650,000 voters.

Pinellas has slightly more registered Democrats than Republicans and is seen as a key county in the presidential race in Florida. Clark is a Republican, and Ausman said the state attorney should convene a grand jury in its role as a traditional watchdog over how government agencies function.

Ausman says state figures show that Pinellas has the lowest early voting turnout rate in the state so far (2.7 percent) and he says that's no coincidence. "Early voting overwhelmingly favors Democratic voters," Ausman said. "Pinellas County is the worst county when it comes to allowing its voters to vote early." Clark aggressively promotes absentee voting over early voting, which Ausman said traditionally is favored by Republican voters.

"Jon Ausman's political stunt today, while typical, is as deceptive as his claims are false," said Erin VanSickle, a Republican Party spokeswoman. Noting Florida's 15-day window for early voting and several weeks during which voters can request an absentee ballot, she asks: "How is this suppressing the vote?"

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 4:41pm]


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