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Flagler Supervisor of Elections Office Tops State Performance Rankings That Anger Others

| April 27, 2012

Doing the job, according to the governor's survey. ((© FlaglerLive) FlaglerLive)

Last Updated: 6:41 p.m.

Democrat Kimberle Weeks may have Republican Gov. Rick Scott to thank for the biggest official boost to her office, and in an election year no less: Weeks’s is among 13 supervisors of elections offices across the state that have scored 7’s (out of a perfect 8) in a controversial ranking system Scott released on Thursday. Weeks is almost certain to use the results as vindication of her office–and her tenure–after nearly four years of conflict with the Flagler County Commission over her budget and confrontational style.

Weeks’s office is shown to have posted January primary election night results early and met six other criteria (including completing the governor’s survey) early as well.

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But supervisors of Elections from around the state are objecting to the survey, which scored them exclusively based on the January presidential primary, and which was conducted by a branch of government–the governor’s office–that has no authority or oversight responsibility over supervisors of elections.

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.

Weeks was contacted for comment Friday morning. A reporter was told she had just left the office, but would likely answer questions put in writing: it has been Weeks’s habit not to speak to reporters directly, unless they happen to see her in her office, but to answer questions by email. Later Friday, Weeks apologized for not being able to take the call earlier and provided extensive answers to written questions.

“Our office is proud to accept recognition for the recent survey,” Weeks wrote. “Despite the controversy surrounding the survey and the methodology that other supervisors are expressing criticism for, I am extremely proud of the elections staff, volunteers, and poll workers for their hard work; not just for the recent Presidential Preference Primary election, but for the nearly dozen other elections that have been conducted flawlessly throughout my term.”

Weeks welcomed the rankings as vindication of her office’s work. “The exceptional work of our office has often been overshadowed by negative coverage despite our flawless election record,” she wrote. “Since taking office in 2009, it appears to me that my office has not always been depicted in the most flattering light, so receiving accolades is a welcomed breath of fresh air. It is hopeful that this “breath of fresh air” will remind the voters of Flagler County why they elected me to this office nearly four years ago, and that I will continue to serve them with the same quality service if reelected this year.”

And Weeks echoed the skepticism of fellow-supervisors regarding the survey’s methodology: “I cannot speak on behalf of the other supervisors, however I will say that all of our duties and responsibilities cannot be measured by merely by one survey. A survey of this kind has not been administered in years past, and with or without the high praise from the survey results our office has received we would and we will continue to perform at the highest possible level.”

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.”

–FlaglerLive and the News Service of Florida

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18 Responses for “Flagler Supervisor of Elections Office Tops State Performance Rankings That Anger Others”

  1. kip durocher says:

    Ms. Weeks does an excellent job and that pack of prattling, bilious gas bags that vie for the task should be sent back from whence they came. We don’t want it like it was up north!

  2. palmcoaster says:

    Congratulations to our Supervisor of Elections Kim Weeks!.
    As a poll worker for our former Supervisor Peggy Border for several years and for Kimberle Weeks as well in our last elections, I can attest that she supervised a flawless process. Also she has refunded the county commission from her approved budget, I believe over 50,000 a year. Please, county commissioners/administrator correct me in this figure, if I am wrong. Also she has very knowledgeable and efficient employees like Darlen Walker, always ready to answer any of our questions or clarify our doubts as Mrs.Weeks does. her whole team is good.
    I admire Mrs Weeks determination to run for Elections Supervisor after being let go from another county job. She campaigned with sunny and stormy weather in the heat and rain as well and against all odds and the people saw and felt that and elected her. Now would be fair that our county commissioners, administrator and attorney finally recognize her real achievements and give her support in the next County Commissioners Board Meeting, as for sure they should be proud of her. Lets value those constitutional officers that “the people elect” and that do an outstanding work.

  3. Dudley Doright says:

    Let the County Commissioner’s eat crow! Especially, Alan, soon gone, Peterson. Great job Kim!

  4. Anonymous says:

    When is this dame up for re-election?

  5. Peppy says:

    Weeks finally gets the credit she deserves! Kimberle Weeks has my vote in 2012.

  6. kmedley says:

    I find it great that Flagler is among the top group of 12, but seriously, when that office is presented with counting fewer and fewer votes with each passing election, there is not any excuse for not finishing in the top group.

    Each year, the budget has increased when compared to the 2008-2009 Fiscal Year budget. Salaries have been increased each year, while others are asked to maintain level salaries. Bonuses have been paid. The rift between the office and county and local officials has certainly increased. While all of these increases have been implemented, polling locations have decreased, professional treatment of poll workers has diminished, and total ballots cast have decreased. In my opinion, their has been a complete failure on the part of the office to develop any proactive approaches to either maintain and/or increase previous levels of voter turnout.

    Rewarding failure is not a reason for re-election. A flawless election process cannot and should not be measured by the office’s ability to count fewer and fewer cast ballots.

    Anonymous, provided another Democrat does not seek the office, then her name will appear on the General Election ballot, November 6th. The Primary, for the Republican Candidates seeking to oust her, is set for August 14th.

    • Shiek says:

      I see you found it important to point out to “Anonymous” the dates for both the General Election and the Republican Primary. However, you did not address the inappropriateness of “Anonymous” referring to Mrs. Meeks as a “dame.” It appears you will overlook such an indecorous remark for a vote.

  7. palmcoaster says:

    @Kemedley. Rewarding failure… what failure? Sure this GOP Governor needs real reasons to reward as you say a Democrat Supervisor of Elections in Flagler Cty. Have you checked the other Flagler constitutional officers budgets increases and how much larger those budgets are? What a travesty to blame the apathy of the County voters to show up at the ballot box, on the current Supervisor. I would say they do not show up to vote, given the choices probably. Could you prove the diminished professional treatment of poll workers, because sure I did not witness that, being myself one since the times of Peggy Border, another good Supervisor also.
    Are you aware like I said above, that she refunds over 50,000 a year from her approved budgets? Also whoever leaves this county for lack of jobs won’t show up to vote and the newcomers may not make it in time to register or get aquainted with candidates either. We are becoming more of a transient county thanks to the unemployment rate. You really wants us to elect you to her position, don’t YA? She, for the first time have saved the taxpayers monies by no longer have to pay for the deputies, escorting the clerks and poll workers after polls closed driving the ballots and accuvotes back, to her offices for final count on election night!. Just like other counties do
    What other diminishing/undermining, negative critique you may have against our FCSOE up your sleeve?

    • Think first, act second says:

      palmcoaster, I would ask you this question. If the SOE is returning over $50,000 a year to the county commission, would you not think that she should adjust her budget down by $50,000 which would be a balanced budget not an inflated one? How much accounting do you have to have to know that this is simple math?

  8. The Honest One Says says:

    Congratulation Kimberly Weeks and all of her hard working staff. I am very happy to see this office recognized by the Governor. It is about time that office has gotten some positive recognition, she surely does not get it from the county commissioner or any of the other county officials. Good job Kimberly Weeks. All your honesty and dedicatedness has finally paid off. Good Luck with your campaign.

  9. The Honest One Says says:

    kmedley, what are you talking about. “The office counting fewer and fewer votes”. Are you kidding. It is not the Supervisor of Elections job to get all the couch potatoes off their duffs and get them out to vote. Get a life Medley and stop critizing Kimberly Weeks. She has done a damn good job in the four years since she has been in office. Seems to me you are a cronic complainer. Start looking from within…..

  10. palmcoaster says:

    @Act first think second. I guess that you do not volunteer/work as a poll worker. Our dedicated SOE Mrs. Weeks like Peggy Border or any other before her, had to go thru the learning process as no one was born an SOE. You should know that her department works with equipment like the Accu-vote ballot readers and other new voting computers and all the new equipment that the state mandates as well as procedures and documentation as well.
    The cost of equipment has to be calculated as well as the elections cost and is better to have money to refund than being short and with “not BOCC sympathy/collaboration” and time to spare for approvals. Would be nice that you get acquainted with the elections process by volunteering to work and help as a poll worker and then you will understand why being short of funds could mean mayhem for any SOE not only Mrs Weeks, specially when your BOCC dislike the people’s choice. Come and join us, working those polls on the incoming elections.

    • Think first, act second says:

      palmcoaster. I have worked at two separate polling stations, so you are totally off base, again. I do know what equipment she works with and I do not remember any budgetary items for new equipment, pls tell me when she bought it since she has been in office. If you go to the bank to borrow money you always borrow more than you need, just in case you need it? You say she does not have time for approvals, why not this year she has 3 elections, that is 3days of 365. Is she not competent enough to know ahead of an election that her equipment is faulty, I think she knows. So far you have excused wrongly about 3 things in this post and tell me what makes you think the BOCC is my favorites, oops four things you are wrong about in this post.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I know who I won’t be voting for in August or the general election if she should make it that far. anyone that obsessed with constantly badgering and complaining about the SOE for the last 3 years obviously has some issues. Anyone but Medley in 2012!

  12. Shiek says:

    @kmedley: I see you found it important to address election dates in your respond to the “Anonymous” comment. However, you did not speak to the inappropriateness of calling Ms. Meeks a “dame.” Such indecorous remarks should not only be unacceptable, but those who make them should be called on them. You might loss one vote, but gain ten for requiring civility in our politics.

    • kmedley says:

      Definition of Dame:

      1. a woman of rank, station, or authority: as

      a. archaic: mistress of a household
      b. the wife or daughter of a lord
      c. a female member of the order of knighthood used a titled prefixed to the given name

      2. a. an elderly woman
      b. woman

      Yes, I answered the question posed by anonymous and provided election dates.

  13. palmcoaster says:

    @thinkfirst.. needed. I never said “faulty equipment”, but instead equipment “mandated”, by the state (that so far the BOCC declined to fund) is quiet different and this is as far as me wasting time answering your demanded inquiries….as is obvious that you have “a very clear agenda”. Since when the “polling precincts” are renamed “stations”?

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