Saturday, November 18, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: Elections chief keeps voting convenient

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Good for Deborah Clark. The Pinellas supervisor of elections told Secretary of State Ken Detzner on Monday that she will keep using remote dropoff sites for absentee ballots and ignore his directive to stop. Clark is making voting as convenient as possible, and the state is determined to make it more difficult.

Detzner told elections supervisors last week they should allow absentee ballots to be dropped off only at their offices and suggested that using other sites such as libraries is illegal. The demand appeared aimed at Pinellas County. Clark aggressively promotes absentee ballots and remote dropoff sites, and Pinellas has a special congressional election early next year. In fact, Clark already is telling voters they can drop off their Jan. 14 primary ballot at three tax collector offices and two libraries.

In her letter to Detzner, Clark makes a strong case that she is following the law. She points out that her deputy elections supervisors staff the dropoff sites and the boxes are secure and not left at the sites overnight. She said she has used the remote sites since 2008 and they were part of plans she submitted to the state to receive federal money. That makes the timing of the state's demand to stop even more suspicious.

Clark points out that the remote dropoff locations save money and increase voter turnout. She made the right decision to keep them and to refuse to comply with Detzner's directive. The secretary of state is once again on the wrong side of sound public policy, and he should drop the issue.

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