Manatee elections chief Mike Bennett to meet with Gov. Rick Scott on voting changes

skennedy@bradenton.comFebruary 4, 2013 

MANATEE -- Manatee Elections Supervisor Mike Bennett plans a trip to Tallahassee this week to meet with officials reviewing Florida's elections laws.

Bennett said he has scheduled meetings with Gov. Rick Scott and top legislators working on possible changes in Florida election laws.

Some voters waited as long as six or seven hours in November to vote in the general election.

Among the items Bennett said he would like to see included in legislation are a free, statewide ID card that would be issued to every voter; and money for modernizing voting equipment.

"At our office (former supervisor) Bob Sweat did a great job over the years, nursing equipment along, even though it's old and out of date," said Bennett. "We're going to have to look at that."

Manatee County also would fare better during upcoming elections if the state would loosen restrictions on where early voting sites may be set up, said Bennett, who was a member of the Florida Senate before he was elected Manatee supervisor of elections in November.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitternote auth="Marc Masferrer" coll="0" ctime="1ce0306 9aa86538" mtime="1ce0306 9aa86538">

bennett: i was part of the team that helped to put tohose recs tog and i think the gov's ofc, speaker and prez are all on the same page

couple minor things i'd like to add

extra sunday: do not want it the sunday before the election, not the su

staff gets overloaed, just kills them, crushes them

they were there after midnight sunday--more than happay extra sun

want to have more early voting sites, can do it as long a we can get access to other buildings--anyplace i can rent cheap and security and have conveneient to the people."

early voting sites: would like to do some comm hearings, talk to comm leaders and

some people are going to complain

other things we want: lot of paper to move, would like to have st look at some addl resources for purchasing electronic poll record for every county

if we want to have good elections...we want to make sure all equipment i s good ad updated

don't ee any money to do that, espy for these small counties, matching grant $ from the state, put X into pot, we'll put some in

at our ofc bob sweat did a great job over the years nursing equipment along even tho its old and out of date.

we're going to have to look at that

people want and expect no lines, no grief, takes money to do that, and so"

ballot- on-deman: if i could offset cost of closing down preciencts for ballot on demand we could have more early voting sites, which i think people would liek"

short in that ofc at least 4 if not 5 people; trying to set aside $ to not replace them right now, save $ for equipment

ballot on deamand allows you to do: drive past any precicnet, early voting site in man co, put voter id card in, and it would spit out ballot fit your residence inst of having close to 300 diff ballots, had to physically go back and hand pull that paticular balot

had to print extra ballots, had to have ready to go

sara county


gov's discussion: statewide ID--one thing i'm going to push for

should be able to issue a voter id card that cuts down any question of fraud

it'll help in other areas: px id, driver's license--govt id or driver's lic

speaking to gov, wed have apptmts w prez and chairm of both house and senate elections committee, to talk about voting bill

voting bill

jim boyd--


elections reform: on the local basis right now we want to replace and hire a receptionist that is bilingual wuld ease things for those people not as bilingual

would help w comm outreach, lg at those thing,slow learning process, but


we get a list from the state of people convicted felons not had rights restored are regitered to vote, we've got to purge them off the list; we'd like to get a second chance,

we'd like them to come in, give them at least 2 but maybe 3 shots to prove they rae resgistered an legal to vote

the ones in the paper, letter came back, so we're trying to find ways to contact them

by statute we have to bal out the voters list ev yr anyway


number of peple in that category: somebody on it ed

most come in truly are there and can prove they have their rights restored

right restored: not that I have heard

probly scott farington, no 2 person

do it on a continous basis

several ways we get it, state sends a list, local court

can't assume

don't want

we want to make sure when we take someb off it's truly legitimate, give them initial opps

about to remove them

continues basis

scott: we advertise monthly or more frequently, even weekly

process works: maj of them we get a notice, electronic file from div of elections in tally; process it locally to make sure its the sam person who is a voter

process goes from there-depending on the number

January we advertised about 50 names--jan is gely a little higher mostly bec in nov and dec those times last yr eb was having an election

send them a certified letter, if no response only then do we advertise

this is the maj of these bec are genly caught up, most are recent people within last yr convicted in the last

not like going back 20 years

most of what we see are fairly recent ones

SCOTT FARRINGTON, assit sup of elections


Governor Rick Scott: Secretary of State's Report on Election Improvements Contains Steps to Help Restore Voter Confidence

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Today, Governor Rick Scott made the following statement on Secretary of State Ken Detzner's report with recommendations to improve the state's election system, following the 2012 election. Sec. Detzner's final report on recommended election improvements is available here.

Governor Scott said, "This report details three key reforms our state needs to improve our election system and restore voter confidence. It recommends changing current law to shorten the length of the ballot, add more days for early voting - from eight to 14 days, including the option for supervisors of elections to open polls on the Sunday before Election Day, and increase the size of voting locations to better accommodate voters.

"When I first asked Sec. Detzner to begin interviews with elections officials and local leaders following the 2012 election, we knew that improvements needed to be made. Following the November election, many Floridians were frustrated with the inefficiencies, confusion, and delays they found at some voting locations. Most counties did not experience any significant difficulties or delays. These recommendations by the Secretary of State are important reforms that can be done at the statewide level. I have also asked Sec. Detzner to continue to work with those counties who need additional assistance or support to improve their systems, outside of statewide election law changes.

"Our goal is to ensure our election system is fair and accessible so every Floridian has the confidence that their vote counts. I am grateful for the detailed work of Sec. Detzner in forming these recommendations over the last few months, the supervisors of elections who gave him input, and all those who participated from every level of government. I look forward to working with the Legislature as we turn these three key recommendations into law over the weeks and months ahead."

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