Stafford, Other Elections Supervisors Take On Rick Scott Over Survey

April 29, 2012

Supervisors of Elections from around the state are objecting to survey results distributed last week by the Scott administration that scored them after the January presidential primary on various performance measures , such as how quickly they report results.

Writing for the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections, Escambia County Supervisor of Elections David Stafford, a Republican, said the measurements don’t accurately reflect how good the supervisors are at their jobs – and that the supervisors didn’t learn the purpose of the questions they were asked until the Division of Elections put out the results.

Stafford said the supervisors had urged Secretary of State Ken Detzner not to publish the results.

Stafford reminded Scott in a sharply-worded letter sent Wednesday that the governor doesn’t actually have much control over the supervisors – they’re constitutional officers who are elected independently. And the measurements are flawed, he said.

“Unfortunately, the items used in the survey are not, by themselves, true indicators of a supervisor of elections’ office,” Stafford wrote. “Furthermore, the data is flawed in certain instances, thereby yielding a result which is inaccurate….”

Stafford said the survey – if used to produce a public ranking of each supervisor – “has the potential to undermine confidence in Florida’s elections, which we work tirelessly to instill in the public.

“As you are well aware,” Stafford wrote, “we are responsible for carrying out our duties and the citizens and voters in our counties are the persons best able to evaluate that performance.”

The rankings are hard to decipher, but include seven metrics, such as when results were first uploaded on election night, when early voting dates were announced and when absentee ballots were mailed. An eighth “extra credit” category was for returning the survey early.

The rankings went from 1 point for submitting a particular type of data early to negative 1 for submitting it late, and negative 2 for not submitting it at all. For submitting data “on time,” but not early, counties got a 0.

While no county supervisor got the maximum score of eight, several registered a seven. Several supervisors scored at each level all the way down to three counties that received scores of negative 4, the lowest recorded. Those were Brevard, Palm Beach, and Seminole counties.

While the scores made it out – the state sent them to supervisors this week and they were subsequently leaked – Scott’s office said they won’t be used for the moment.

“Gov. Scott has been briefed on the letter from the supervisors of election and agrees to give this issue additional consideration,” Scott spokesman Lane Wright said. “We will wait to post anything online until he’s had time to evaluate the concerns.”

While the survey came from Detzner’s office, Stafford said officials told the supervisors that Scott was driving the measuring effort.

“It was made clear to us that the survey and ranking were initiated out of the governor’s office,” Stafford said in the letter to Scott. “We have requested a meeting with your office to discuss our serious concerns on this issue on numerous occasions over the past several weeks, but have yet to receive a response.”

In addition to the complaints from the supervisors, Democratic lawmakers also criticized Scott on the survey.

“Gov. Scott still hasn’t figured out that there are limits to his authority,” said Rep. Rick Kriseman, D-St. Petersburg. “Florida’s elections supervisors deserve support from statewide officers and they shouldn’t have to succumb to meddling by the governor. I am confident that county elections supervisors are willing to participate in meaningful surveys, but I am sure they are opposed to the governor meddling in and undermining both their work and the confidence of voters.”


16 Responses to “Stafford, Other Elections Supervisors Take On Rick Scott Over Survey”

  1. David Huie Green on May 1st, 2012 5:09 pm

    “Dead people voting, felons and illegal voters.”

    Specific infractions or simply historical information?

    David for honest polling

  2. tallyho on May 1st, 2012 3:47 pm

    Weather Gov Scott are some one else needs to make some one accountable for the cheating at at the polls , Dead people voting, felons and illegal voters.

  3. David Huie Green on April 30th, 2012 7:01 pm

    “It’s amazing when people are questioned or called to accountability or even measured in some way that there is an automatic defensive response.”

    Nah, that’s not the case here. He’s not questioning us, he’s questioning someone who does not serve him and seems to be applying pressure where he lacks power. Further, it seems he doesn’t realize he doesn’t have power here.

    For an analogy, consider if your mechanic told your surgeon he wasn’t operating correctly. He might be a great mechanic, but that doesn’t mean he knows a thing about surgery. In governor Scott’s place, the analogy might more accurate if the mechanic were a shade tree mechanic whose yard was filled with cars he couldn’t fix and he was telling a surgeon how to operate. He doesn’t seem to know his own job and is telling others how to do theirs.

    This does not inspire confidence.

    Further, if we are honest with ourselves, we don’t want the governor telling the supervisors of elections how to do their jobs or some future, less honest governor might decide to tell them to do something which threw all future elections his way.

    David for literate governors

  4. Amazing on April 30th, 2012 5:05 pm

    It’s amazing when people are questioned or called to accountability or even measured in some way that there is an automatic defensive response. This is human nature for the insecure but until one admits that improvement is needed through better efficiencies, especially government organizations both state and local, this tension will remain.

    There is the fat of inefficiencies pervading government because people want to be taken care of without being accountable for anything. Until we all start taking our own individual responsibilities to heart and vote for limited government, then the less accountable will continue run our lives and coninue the inefficiencies.

    Give the man a chance. There is probably a lot of government that we do need, such as election supervisors…

  5. Rufus Lowgun on April 30th, 2012 4:05 pm

    Gov. Scott hasn’t seemed to be much bothered by whether he actually has jurisdiction or authority over a department or sector of state government when he makes his decrees. I’m not sure why David Stafford or anyone else thought this would be any different. Rick Scott is out to line his pockets, not do anything for the state. The sooner we all realize that, the sooner we can get someone into the Governor’s Mansion who isn’t a crook.

  6. busy? on April 30th, 2012 9:16 am

    Does ‘Gov’nor’ Scott not have enough to do…..
    I really wish the citizens of this State (& entire country, for that matter) would wake up & pay attention to what our ELECTED officials are really doing. People MUST do their homework BEFORE they vote. I’m so thankful that we still HAVE the right to vote……I’m amazed that Scott hasn’t tried to take that, too!!!

    He seems to think that since he, for the present time, holds that ‘title’ of Gov’nor… that he can do whatever he chooses. What’s sad is that he has gotten away with a lot of changes to which the general public is oblivious. Such a shame.

    I pray to God every day that my state job (& retirement) don’t go “poof” before we get him OUT of office.

    To jw & B Brewton:
    Accountability is great….Scott doesn’t need to meddle in it …… I’m so glad that David Stafford had the intestinal fortitude to speak up.

    To David Green, my2cents, & ret. popo:
    CUDOS X 10 !!!!!!! When do ya’ll think people will ever pay attention????

  7. B. Brewton on April 29th, 2012 8:54 pm

    A little petty complaining.

    Citizens deserve some third party evaluation of local public officials.

    So….. their rights weren’t read. Not required. Might not be a perfect appraisal but it’s good to have information other than only taking the bragging points from each local supervisor.

  8. jw on April 29th, 2012 5:55 pm

    Perhaps Gov. Scott is simply trying to apply business practices to state government. I think it’s an excellent idea to give the election officials a performance appraisal. This doesn’t mean the governor is trying to go beyond his authoritative power and fire them. I think he has worked hard to bring accountability to the political arena. If only he could do his “movin’ and shakin’” on the federal level, then we might start to get this mess cleaned up. Just my personal opinion. :)

  9. hmmm on April 29th, 2012 1:51 pm

    I can’t even stand to look at a picture of Rick Scott. It repels me.

  10. retired po po on April 29th, 2012 1:00 pm

    Is Governor Scott into socialism? The more he interferes with the state workers and elected officials, the more votes he loses —- can’t wait for that to happen and him be out of office – he will attempt to privatize the prisons again – what will happen if Century is in that group at a later time —- before you jump on his bandwagon, I would look at his agenda in the future.

  11. my-2-cents on April 29th, 2012 10:57 am

    “The Scott” wants to intimidate among all public workers thus hopefully securing him another election. He is trying to send a message, that being: Dont -F- with me, i’ll destroy you. What else could it be? This guy is out of control…

  12. David Huie Green on April 29th, 2012 9:43 am

    It’s kind of cute to consider, it’s like he said:

    “I demanded answers from people who don’t have to answer to me and some of them told me to stuff it, so I’m giving THEM a bad grade.

    “Don’t they understand that I’M THE GOVERNOR?? They keep talking about constitutional limitations on my power.
    What is this Constitution they keep talking about??
    And what’s this foolishness about limitations on my power????

    “Just for that, they get a Negative Two. That’ll show them!!!”

    David for an understanding Governator
    and lower math

  13. In response to "Well" on April 29th, 2012 8:44 am

    I don’t think Elections Supervisors would have answered differently, but rather, would have liked to have known that they were being “tested”.

    If their office is like other governmental agencies, they are inundated with surveys which often do not take priority over day-to-day tasks. Is it ‘playing fair’ to give points for timely response when not advised of that metric in advance?

    Did my fellow North Escambians realize the recognition our county received by Mr. Stafford being the one to respond to the Governor?

    Thank you, Mr. Stafford, for representing your community on the state level!

  14. Kathy on April 29th, 2012 7:46 am

    Republicans picking on republicans did they forget we all stand together and never break the party line.

  15. Jane on April 29th, 2012 7:10 am

    Apparently this touched some nerves, I don’t know how good or bad they are at their job, and maybe Governor Scott just was checking before the ( presdential)election and before we got into a smoo like the time Florida had to re-count all their votes?

  16. well on April 29th, 2012 6:50 am

    So if they had known the purpose of the survey they would have lied?, or just answered differently?

    Yes Mr. Stafford you don’t answer to the governor but that type answer makes you sound high and mighty!

    Lastly if you have heard election stories out of some of those counties, confidence is not what comes to mind.

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