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Miscounts Stretch Marathon Canvassing Board Meeting to 16 Hours, Ending After Midnight

| October 30, 2014

The counting did not go well at the last Canvassing Board meeting, stretching the session to 16 hours. Supervisor of Elections Kimberle Weeks is seen here during a previous session. (© FlaglerLive)

The counting did not go well at the last Canvassing Board meeting, stretching the session to 16 hours. Supervisor of Elections Kimberle Weeks is seen here during a previous session. (© FlaglerLive)

Somewhere deep in the crags and vaults of the Flagler County Elections Supervisor’s office papers documenting Canvassing Board meetings might show what the longest such meeting was in the county’s history. It is very unlikely that any past meetings have exceeded the lengths of meetings held during this election cycle—meetings that have devolved into theater, grandstanding and politicking, mostly by the supervisor and her partisans, and that have helped stretch sessions from the laborious to the epic.


But even those meetings’ lengths pale compared to Wednesday’s: the Flagler County Canvassing Board convened at 8 a.m. It did not adjourn until past midnight. The more-than 16-hour marathon was not the result of any extra-curricular antics or media gigs, as had been the case before. Those were limited. Supervisor of Elections Kimberle Weeks, for example, choreographed down to name plates where board members were to sit and where the two attorneys would sit (at a separate table).

No Canvassing Board meeting in memory had ever been held that way, nor are board members required to submit to the manipulations, as Weeks, who has frequently confused her role as supervisor with her role on the board, is not in charge of the board (Judge Melissa Moore-Stens is).  The rest of the Canvassing Board could have objected, but its members have learned to pick their battles in what has turned into a similar kind of struggle Palm Coast and the county have experienced in confrontations with Weeks: a war of attrition.

To the surprise of the board Thursday, Weeks had also hired a court reporter to keep records of the meetings, though the board does not recognize those records as official. It has already voted to have its own minutes and minute-keeper. The court reporter cost, which Weeks told the board is in her budget, is in addition to the attorney she’s hired, though the board has its own at no additional expense to taxpayers, and the other attorney she’s hired to defend her in a criminal investigation she’s under, by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

As it turned out, the stenographer was seated too far from the proceedings to accurately hear all of its deliberations. “there’s no way the stenopgrapher could hear all the activities that were going on, and the stenographer said that multiple times,” County Commissioner Barbara Revels, an alternate member of the Canvassing Board, said.


Antics were limited to a few issues, recounts were not.


Rather than those side issues, the length of the meeting was the result of a four-ballot discrepancy in counted ballots that bedeviled tabulators and the board most of the day, requiring multiple recounts, until a full recount of all 11,522 absentee ballots that the supervisor’s office has received so far had to be counted again. Round midnight, the numbers came out right, and the meeting’s last-remaining survivors—Judge Melissa Moore-Stens, who chairs the Canvassing Board, County Commissioner George Hanns, and Weeks, plus two poll workers who’d been there since 8—could finally go home.

Hanns had actually put in the second and third shift, picking up at 2 p.m. where Revels left off, as she had to attend to a prior commitment (and had apparently missed a couple of other engagements). Hanns and Moore-Stens got to go home briefly in the evening, Hanns so he could get his antibiotics (he’s been nursing a troublesome skin issue near his eye after the removal of a mole) and Moore-Stens so she could attend to her two young children. Weeks’s attorney put in an appearance at midday but left after less than two hours. The stenographer left well before the meeting stretched into the night, as did Christy Mayer, the county’s recorder and minute-taker.

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“There was no give or take either way, it had to reconcile, it had to match, and finally after running all the ballots on two machines, the number added up,” Hanns said. The commissioner gave credit to poll workers and the board for keeping on task most of the day. “Other than that one day when that audience was stacked with Ronald Reagan people and poll workers who were infuriated before we got there—and I don’t think that was justified,,” Hanns said, referring to the notorious Sept. 12 Canvassing Board meeting, “when we’re working envelopes, counting ballots, everyone is concentrating on what they’re doing. There’s no time for bickering or nothing. That doesn’t happen when we’re working. It’s when there’s idle hands that the devil shows up.”

There weren’t too many idle moments Wednesday. Nevertheless, there were, and remain some questions that Revels says she will raise at the next meeting, at 3 p.m. Monday, as a result of the issues the board experienced in counting ballots Thursday.

“I want a clear understanding about what happened then,” Revels said, “and then how that feeds into how the election will be handled on election night, what processes have changed, what processes will be put in place to assure accuracy.”

Revels was asked if she had confidence in the process. She paused. The n she said: “I think with everybody that’s attending canvassing board, monitoring the counting, that the outcome will be correct, so in that’s sense I have confidence in it. But I do believe that it needs our eyes to be there.”

During the public comment period, Dennis McDonald, the former county commission candidate who attends most Canvassing Board meetings, largely as a Weeks partisan, said Revels should not serve as an alternate on the board because she’s under investigation by the Florida Commission on Ethics—a charge filed by a fellow-member of the Ronald Reagan Republican Assemblies group, the radical-right organization of which McDonald is a director. McDonald never mentioned the criminal investigation clouding Weeks’s service. That investigation is directly related to Weeks’s behavior on the Canvassing Board. Revels’s ethics matter relates to the county’s purchase of the old hospital.

Weeks did not return a call to her office or an email requesting comment about Wednesday’s meeting.

Neither Revels nor Hanns say they plan to approve the cost of a court reporter, should Weeks submit the item. Court reporters generally charge between $3.50 and $4 per page, potentially making each Canvassing Board session a matter of several hundred dollars.

“That’s rather interesting,” Hannss said of both the court reporter and the extra attorney Weeks hired, as Weeks refuses to recognize Al Hadeed, the county attorney who also sits in as the Canvassing Board attorney. “They weren’t necessities and I don’t know why she felt she needed them. It just seems to me she’s being defensive for no reason, without merit. If you have a suspicious mind you’ll always come up with things like this, or people are against me or whatever she might be thinking. All we want to do is do the canvassing board, have a proper election and take care of business.”

Hanns said that when the county commission looks at the matter at budget time, he will “definitely bring up the fact that we didn’t authorize all these additional expenditures, keeping in mind that constitutional officers once they get their budget for the year they can manipulate it any way they want.” Hanns, like Revels, said he’d have no problems if the cost does not change her budget, though that would necessitate cuts elsewhere in Weeks’s budget.

Revels insisted that it be placed in the meeting records and minutes that Weeks was paying for the stenographer. “that’s not the kind of budget the county approves,” Revels said. “That’s not what the citizens expect to pay for.”

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22 Responses for “Miscounts Stretch Marathon Canvassing Board Meeting to 16 Hours, Ending After Midnight”

  1. TomC says:

    Is it any wonder why many citizens, including me, think the Flagler County government is a joke?

  2. KB63 says:

    and the joke continues. Is there even a reason to vote in Flagler County in this election? How are we assured our vote is going to be counted? Is she going to pop up with boxes full of lost ballots after the election because she is too busy trying to find ways to cover her ass and not paying attention? This is a complete circus and not funny. What doesn’t she understand? This whole thing is a disaster.

  3. tulip says:

    It’s pathetic that we have a BOCC and canvassing board that gives in to Weeks demands, especially not allowing the court reporter to sit where he or she could actually hear what was going on. Shame on Judge Moore Stens for continuing to allow Weeks to get away with this stuff. No vote from me next time around for Judge Stens either.

    Weeks herself didn’t stay the whole 16 hours and I find it very odd that it took so long for the count to come out accurately.

    With all the just inside the law stunts she has pulled over the last few months, and the more recent things of wrong ballots being given out and people who voted at the library were not given a security folder to put their ballot in, thus allowing the attendant standing by the ballot machine to easily see the filled in ovals, leaving a meeting for a radio interview and now this, Flagler County is an embarrassment, thanks to all the people who voted for her and didn’t learn anything the first time she was in office and voted her in again.

    • Will says:

      Tulip, I suggest giving the judge a little breathing room here before deciding not to retain her years from now. Flaglerlive hit the nail on the head, suggesting that Mr. Hanns and the Judge are choosing their battles. The sad thing is that they have so many choices.

      I hope the Governor would retire the SOE the day after the elections.

  4. Emile says:

    Could anyone tell me if Kimberle Weeks was always at odds with the County Commission and the Canvassing Board? Were things always so acrimonious? Was she always so concerned with the minutiae?

    • KMedley says:

      Emile

      The answers to your questions could fill the pages of a book that is yet to be; but, should be written. Borrowing from an article once published here, the working title could easily be, “What’s Eating Kimberle B. Week?”

      Those who continue to profess this is nothing more than a lone Supervisor of Elections standing her ground against an all encroaching County Commission are those who have had entirely too much Kool-Aid.

  5. dumdfounded says:

    Seems the whole county is after her with pitch forks. Media included! I don’t blame her one bit for the extra attorney and court reporter. Looks like Kim Medley is finally getting her kicks from this witch hunt.

  6. confidential says:

    Of course our current SOE Weeks was opposed and witch hunted from the start because the FCBOCC was used to that the prior SOE was the wife of a county commissioner… so was “all in the family”
    Now FCBOCC can’t exercise the control the used to have over our elections anymore with SOE Weeks.

    • Enough is Enough! says:

      @confidential: This is now the 2nd time you have spoken out about the former SOE being a County Commissioner’s wife. You need to get your facts straight before you spew out your ridiculous comments. The former SOE was the SOE way before she married the County Commissioner and he wasn’t even the County Commissioner until way after they got married. Both John Seay and Peggy Rae Border were upstanding public officials and the fact that she is a recent widow because of his passing makes your comments even more deplorable. She ran an impeccable elections office for 18 years and never once had issues like the current SOE. Get a grip!!!!!!

    • Will says:

      I didn’t know that we had a Commissioner Borders, or that the former SOE had anyone in her family in an important governement position – at least in the last ten years. Tell me more please.

      The current SOE lied to my face about an election related matter a few years back, so you’ll need to pardon me if I’m a bit skeptical.

  7. Joe says:

    Hanns had actually put in the second and third shift, picking up at 2 p.m. where Revels left off, as she had to attend to a prior commitment (and had apparently missed a couple of other engagements).

    Where is the article about Revels leaving??? I mean Weeks was front page when she did it, starting to look like a witch hunt to me…. Happy Halloween!

    [Corrective Note: Revels is the designated alternate who was sitting in for Hanns, both of whom clearly announced their schedules. Weeks has no designated alternate–she wouldn’t be the one to name that alternate anyway, that job is left p to the county commission, by law–did not announce where she was going when she was headed for the radio interview and forced the board’s proceedings to be halted as a consequence, which Revels did not. It helps to unmask the facts.–FL]

  8. PJ says:

    I want to believe that my vote will be counted correctly, counted for the person I voted for and to trust the elections board, but I feel I can’t.

    I even used to vote early like the elections board would want us to do. I no longer can as I have officially lost respect and trust within this portion of Government.

    See you on election day, I’m hoping you can read and count without issue……………PJ

  9. Brad says:

    This along with the multiple cases of wrong ballots handed out during the primary makes it very fair to say that Ms. Weeks is NOT focused on our election at all. She does not care about the integrity of the vote. She obviously cares solely about her childish vendettas.

  10. Groot says:

    Pretty weird stuff but you can’t blame her for covering herself. I think it is safe to say that Ms Weeks will be one and done.

  11. barbie says:

    Impropriety may not have been the case prior to Weeks’ tenure, but looks are everything. “All in the family” is what we had, whether the former SOE was married when she took office or not.

    That being said, is this “overblown” recount of absentee ballots a dry run for shenanigans on Election Day? Somewhere in this county, someone is up to something. It may or may not be Weeks’ doing, but it really matters little to me who the “bad guy” is, this BS has to stop. People need to be able to have faith in the process, and this has already undermined it.

  12. confidential says:

    @Brad the chair of the local Rep Party Mr. Sullivan, in a canvassing meeting and contrary to what the FCBOCC chair Hanns told the media, Mr. Sullivan publicly confirmed that the Rep party many poll watchers assigned in the primaries precincts reported in writing that the elections were managed by all the poll workers in a very professional and any minimal errors were promptly and satisfactorily resolved and co that should be sufficient enough for individuals like you after being the campaign manager of SOE contender Trey Corbett that pathetically lost against Mrs. Weeks and you guys still don’t accept your defeat. Further more associate with former candidate Kmedley into this well organized county and city governments intentions to manipulate this election process in favor of your future elections and the current incumbents favor as well.

    • Brad says:

      Confidential,

      No, I was not a “campaign manager” for anyone. Bill McGuire was Trey’s campaign manager. No, I don’t have any ill-will over the result of that election. I was helping a friend who wanted to run. It is always rather interesting how Ms. Weeks’ supporters veil themerlves in anonymity though. Ashamed?

      That being said, the experience did in fact raise awareness to a lot of things going on especially regarding our elections office. It is quite obvious that the only person putting the integrity of our local elections in question is Ms. Weeks. It is disgusting to see our tax dollars blatantly wasted due to spiteful childish and selfish behavior that has absolutely nothing to due with us as voters or taxpayers. If you are OK with that that is your perogitive. I, and many others, are not.

  13. confidential says:

    Is this what our local government county and PC city want our SOE to have to apologize for, after elections for not keeping our elections free from manipulation and long lines?: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/video/florida-election-supervisor-issues-tearful-apology-17667488

  14. Ray Thorne says:

    Re-count 2012!!

  15. Voter says:

    The supervisor needs a court reporter is to have transparency because county commissioners and the county attorney want to manipulate meeting minutes and hide the facts. Weeks won’t stand for the manipulation and arrogant attitude of county commissioners, who only have 20% of a voice. Weeks may be under investigation but it is for exposing the county attorney and a county commissioner for felony activity that they hid which occured at a canvassing board meeting….yes, this is what Weeks has to deal with when dealing with these canvassing board members. Weeks has shown them again they won’t manipulate her and that whether they like it or not, she is the Supervisor. Every time I vote I have a positive experience and don’t think we have a problem with the elections, just those as Revels, Hanns and Craig Coffey wanting to control the outcome of our elections. I have confidence in our elections because Weeks is there!

  16. biker says:

    Wow.. This is just plain wrong. We have a SOE that is not doing what she was elected to do. In addition to being investigated by FDLE for illegal activity. We have state agents executing search warrants in our county offices. We are now paying tax payers hard earned money to defend her and allow her to stay in office. All along knowing that her office is handing out incorrect ballots. Basically conducting an election that cannot be trusted. So.. What the heck is it going to take to remove this person.

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