Florida's elections chief says he's worried about potential disturbances during this year's elections, and he's working with law enforcement and supervisors of elections across the state on a plan.and more »
Floridaâ€™s elections chief says heâ€™s worried about potential disturbances during this yearâ€™s elections, and heâ€™s working with law enforcement and supervisors of elections across the state on a plan. Listen to the story! Speaking during a recent Florida Sheriffs Association Conference, Secretary of State Ken Detzner says Florida will likely play an important role in deciding the next President of the United States. â€œI think administratively we are getting ready, we will be ready for the November election, we had a very good presidential primary election, but thereâ€™s one thing that we all know, and thatâ€™s that people are at a heightened state of anxiety, of awareness, and that they are in a position to want to turn out to vote and participate in voting,â€ said Detzner, at the time. But, he told the Sheriffs that there are also other people that they are concerned about. â€œIâ€™m talking about the potential for interruptions and disturbances during the election period, and thatâ€™s where Iâ€™m here to ask you to please, please help us as youâ€™ve always had,â€ Detzner added. â€œIt is going to be different.â€ Detzner says heâ€™s already in talks with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in devising a statewide plan along with the Supervisors. â€œâ€¦and how weâ€™re going to working with our Fusion Center, make sure that we have a proper chain of command, and that we know what they need us to know when we need to know it so we can transition that information to Supervisors and when, if necessary, to local law enforcement,â€ he continued. â€œMost often times itâ€™s really the local law enforcement people that hear about things and then report them in. But, that chain of command and information from my office standpoint is important. And, itâ€™s important for us to be able to support not only the realities of the possibility of some disruptions, but the rumors.â€ So, he says elections officials are also monitoring social media. â€œSo many times things start and activities occur, people get worried, or they take action as a result of something that they may have heard or seen on social media,â€ Detzner stated. â€œSo, we are actively engaged in monitoring that on a regular basis. So, Iâ€™m going to ask you to please again continue to support your voters and your Supervisors in preparation for this election.â€ Â Detzner says during his talks with elections supervisors, he continues to stress the importance of security. And, Detzner adds the new President of the Florida State Association of Supervisor of Elections has been discussing best practices with other supervisors as well. Thatâ€™s Chris Chambless, Clay Countyâ€™s Supervisor of Elections. â€œMaking contacts with key personnel, speaking about potentials for Road closures, or diversions, talking about the anticipated turnout, speaking of the various days of the election, and the activities, resources that are needed for providing for ingress and egress to not only to some of our major polling locations, but also our office during our election night activities, items such as that,â€ said Chambless. Chambless says while he wonâ€™t comment on any rumors surrounding potential disturbances, he says he really feels local and state elections officials are just planning for anything that could happen during the presidential election. â€œThere is no larger election than a presidential election cycle,â€ he added. â€œAnd, I believe that we are just again, preparing for any and all. I donâ€™t think that itâ€™s too farfetched of a thought, given some of the stated activities in not only in our country, but abroad. And, I as a military member really looked to plan for any type of contingency, rather than react to a contingency. So, thatâ€™s our primary focus and goal.â€ As for outgoing Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho, he says heâ€™s not too worried. Sanchoâ€™s work has gained national recognition and heâ€™s been the areaâ€™s Supervisor for almost 30 years. â€œI donâ€™t give credence to any rumors,â€ he said. â€œWeâ€™re looking for an excellent election. The process works well here. Weâ€™ve never had any serious trouble in our polls or during the elections and hopefully that will continue. I think elections in Leon County look very different than elections in the rest of the state of Florida. They work well at high volume here without any problems and thatâ€™s not something you can say at some of the jurisdictions here in the state of Florida.â€ But, Sancho says thatâ€™s not to say that he and other elections officials on his staff are not prepared. He says theyâ€™re all trained in the event of an emergency. â€œWe have an individual who provides basic assistance,â€ Sancho added. â€œTheyâ€™re called deputies and if there is any problem at all, theyâ€™ll be contacting law enforcement, ensuring that voting goes smoothly. Every election we maintain complete telephonic connection with every polling place. Again, thatâ€™s something that not every county does. Itâ€™s expensive, but itâ€™s something that we have to have because of safety if for no other reason and then reporting the results.â€ Meanwhile, in addition to the Florida Sheriffs, Secretary of State Detzner says he plans to talk to the Florida Police Chiefs about the importance of election security at the end of this month. For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.
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