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State elections chief Ken Detzner on Palm Beach County election fiasco

by Dara Kam | March 20th, 2012

Secretary of State Ken Detzner, Florida’s top election official, said his aides are on the ground in Palm Beach County trying to figure out what went wrong with last week’s Wellington elections in which elections supervisor Susan Bucher‘s office certifiedtwo wrong winners in local races.

Detzner, who took over the post last month, said his office is working with Bucher and Dominion Voting Systems, the vendor of the election voting and tabulation equipment Bucher blames for the erroneous results.

“We have people on the ground in Palm Beach working with the supervisor’s office to evaluate what the problem is, number one. That’s the first thing we have to do,” Detzner said Tuesday morning. “Keep in mind there were 16 municipal elections. Of those, one election appears to have had a problem…The question is to determine where the problem was. And until I hear back from my people, we’re not going to make any conclusions or any ideas of what happened until I hear back from them.”

Detzner, whose office certifies all elections hardware and software, said the Dominion technology is in use in Indian River County was recently purchased by Duval County.

The Palm Beach County mishap has sparked a political and legal upheaval in the village of Wellington and appears to be unprecedented since on overhaul in state election laws – in part in response to the county’s infamous “butterfly ballots – in the aftermath of the protracted 2000 recount.

Detzner called the Wellington incident – announced by Bucher Monday – isolated and said he remains confident in the integrity of the November presidential elections.

“Any time there is an irregularity in an election it would cause some concern. Again, I have to look back at there were 16 municipal elections. Fifteen of those went well. There was a problem with one. So I’m going to be reviewing the process, the certification, whether or not there was human error, whether or not it was a software glitch, what it is, and we’ll make corrective actions going forward,” he said. “But I’m confident if you’ve seen the primary results, the primary election results, we did not have any problems. SO I’m confident we have good systems. The supervisors are doing their job. And I’m confident that this might be a very isolated situation and we’ll take corrective action.”

Detzner said it was premature to anticipate any action against Bucher or her office.

“I wouldn’t suggest that in any way until I know what the problem is. That would be very wrong for me to do that,” he said.

Gov. Rick Scott, who appointed Detzner last month, said he was aware of the Wellington problem but not the specifics of what appeared to have gone wrong.

“I feel comfortable that our secretary of state is going to do a good job,” Scott said before this morning’s Cabinet meeting.

When asked if he was concerned about possible election problems in November, Scott said: “I worry about everything. I do worry about hurricanes and wildfires a little more than other things.”

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6 Responses to “State elections chief Ken Detzner on Palm Beach County election fiasco”

  1. Repubtallygirl Says:

    Palm Beach voters get what they voted for, another Democrat in charge and yet again, another screw up.

  2. Just Axing Says:

    Not just any Democrat. A rude, crude and arrogant one.

  3. Ballot Designer Says:

    Did a computer or did a human design the Wellington race ballot?

    Who approved the designed ballot?

    Who Pretested the designed ballot?

    One thing which needs to be rectified is certifying the race winners prior to an audit.

    The election was held on the 13th of March and the audit was done within a week’s time.

    What was the hurry to certify?

  4. Jerry Holland Says:

    Duval County was a Premier/Dominion County we just purchased ES&S the story is incorrect.
    Jerry Holland
    Supervisor of Elections
    Duval County

  5. FL_Independent Says:

    Thank you for the clarification, Mr. Holland. Another great bit of research by the Post, no doubt. And honestly, while Bucher is saying this was not human error, you think you’re gonna get Dominion to admit it was on them?

  6. SB Says:

    Secretary Detzner has walked into a mess, and I truly hope that no “funny business” has occurred in this particular situation. First the corruption report last month that showed Blagojevich’s own Illinois (and Chicago) leading the pack, and Florida trailing not far behind, then the State Integrity report…now election issues. I’m sure Florida and the previous month’s other “winners” are glad to have not taken the S.I. report crown. But seriously, I truly hope these reports lead to much needed change. If the public takes these findings seriously and subsequently starts demanding that our leaders be held accountable then I’m sure some long-lasting improvements may result from the harsh truths revealed by the data presented in those recent reports. The corruption, lack of integrity, and lack of accountability is both sad and endemic. But I digress. On an election-related note, another jurisdiction in Florida is now inadvertently setting itself up for an election fiasco that involves a corrupt judge who has several co-conspirators. You can’t make this stuff up…unfortunately it’s 100% true and corroborated by two reports and extensive irrefutable evidence that is in the possession of agencies, including those within Florida’s 8th Judicial Circuit (and Chief Judge Martha Lott and Chief Investigator Spencer Mann). The judge, and former prosecutor, at the heart of the issue is David P. Kreider. Take a look at

    for more information. A final note regarding Florida’s corruption and integrity issues — I say prison sentences for all those who think they are above the law, especially public servants whom we should be able to trust. Then and only then will the governmental paradigm undergo the shift that is so dearly needed. Unfortunately the lack of ethics, lack of honor, and lack of concern for one’s fellow man has infected governments worldwide on both an institutional and cultural level. Anyway, good luck resolving the election issues.

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