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Supervisor of Elections Scans Boards Through Emergency Meeting and 11th Hour Theatrics

| August 6, 2010

flagler county canvassing board judge kim c. hammond, kimberle weeks, alan peterson

The canvassing board in action: Supervisor of Elections Kimberle Weeks, County Commissioner Alan Peterson, and Judge Kim C. Hammond. (© FlaglerLive)

It’s not often that the Flagler County Commission has to hold an emergency meeting. The one held this morning was publicly announced 24 hours earlier. The reason: the commission had to make a temporary appointment to the county’s three-member canvassing board, which is responsible for certifying that the Supervisor of Elections’ voting equipment is in working order and properly secured ahead of any election. Early voting in this year’s primary begins Monday.

The canvassing board was scheduled to meet at noon to go through those paces, which include physically testing a portion of the voting machines and certifying in writing their functionality. But two of its members—George Hanns, chairman of the county commission, and Sharon Atack, a county judge—were unable to make. Both are out of town on personal matters.

Its third member, Kimberle Weeks, the Flagler County Supervisor of Elections, suggested to Hanns and to Atack that they sign the testing and certification papers ahead of today’s canvassing board meeting, in essence letting Weeks herself be the sole judge of her own equipment’s functionality. Hanns and Atack declined to do that. So the canvassing board had to have substitutes. State law makes provisions for just such an occasion.

When the county judge on the board, who also chairs the board, is unable to attend, the chief judge of the judicial circuit makes the substitute appointment. William Parsons, acting chief judge of the Seventh Judicial Circuit, on Aug. 4 signed an order appointing Flagler County Circuit Court Judge Kim Hammond to sit in for Judge Atack.

Hanns had previously designated fellow county commissioner Milissa Holland his substitute. But there was a problem. Holland is actively campaigning for Alex Sink, the Democratic candidate for governor. State law forbids canvassing board members to be in any way engaged in active support or endorsement of political candidates, with the exception of campaign contributions. County Attorney Al Hadeed proposed a “ratifying action”—that is, for the county administration to designate another commissioner to take Hanns’ place, and having the county commission ratify the decision at its next meeting. Weeks—who had essentially asked Atack and Hanns to ratify her role as sole canvasser—would not accept that arrangement, requesting instead that the county commission formally appoint a substitute by calling an emergency meeting.

Test early, test often. (© FlaglerLive)

There’s some serrated history between the commission and the supervisor of elections, a history of clashes and antipathy that started with Weeks’ requests for budget additions last year, which the commission resisted, and outsized budget additions to run a special election earlier this year. Weeks turned a meeting set up in June expressly to work out problems between the two sides into a riot act, which she read the commissioners. Commissioners were not pleased. Commissioners again pared back some of Weeks’ budget requests last month, though modestly. Forcing the commission to meet today followed the letter of the law. But it was also a chance for Weeks to show that she could exercise some leverage over the commission. Much of the jockeying could have been avoided had Weeks not scheduled the testing of the equipment literally at the last possible hours, giving the other members of the canvassing board little room to maneuver in case of an emergency.

The commission met briefly this morning, with Bob Abbot, the vice chairman, sitting in for Hanns. Quickly, the commission designated Alan Peterson to be the election’s season permanent pinch hitter for Hanns, in case Hanns can’t make it to a future canvassing board meeting. (The canvassing board meets six more times in August alone, including on Aug. 18, 20, twice on Aug. 24—which is election day–, Aug. 27 and Aug. 31.)

From there, the scene moved to the supervisor of elections’ office, where the board was to formally meet at noon. And there, again, there were two very strange but vintage Weeks moments as the canvassing board was set to call its meeting to order.

First, Weeks did not initially accept Judge Hammond as a substitute for Judge Atack. Weeks said the order signed by the acting chief judge was not an original. She was right. It was a copy. But Judge Hammond was no copy of a circuit judge, nor was he in the mood for games. County Attorney Al Hadeed, who also serves as the canvassing board’s attorney, reminded Weeks that both he and Hammond had true copies of the order, and that the original would make it to Flagler County soon enough: time had compelled the circumstances. Weeks relented. It wasn’t over.

Second, Weeks disputed Hammond’s role as chairman of the meeting. She said he was not a “county” judge, therefore could not be chairman. Again Hammond dismissed the claim, saying he was appointed by the acting chief judge to fill the county judge’s chair, which chairs the meetings. Weeks backed down. Hammond took control of the meeting and the proceedings. He remained for the duration of the testing of the machines, and for quite a while he, Peterson and Weeks worked the optical scanners and the touch-screen machines to ensure that they reacted properly when data was (intentionally) entered wrongly.

In all, 11 touch-screen and 12 optical-scan machines were tested. They all passed with the exception of a faulty memory card, which was replaced. The law requires that only a fraction of a supervisor of elections’ total voting-machine inventory be tested. There are more than 100 machines altogether. By 2 p.m., the canvassing board’s work was done.

Early voting begins Monday, Aug. 9. Click here for early voting locations and times.

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14 Responses for “Supervisor of Elections Scans Boards Through Emergency Meeting and 11th Hour Theatrics”

  1. epic fail says:

    When is K. Budd Dwyer Weeks just going to do the right thing and end this experiment? Can’t wait to see the video.

  2. kmedley says:

    When will she ever learn to read? If the statutes outline the steps that are to be taken in this given scenario, then why not READ the statutes and follow the procedures? Another Bull in a China Shop moment courtesy of the Flagler County Supervisor of Elections office. Thank God Judge Hammond took control!

  3. Anita says:

    For years, Flagler County has proudly, and rightly so, enjoyed a reputation for running some of the cleanest and uneventful elections in the state. Let’s hope that continues.

  4. Will says:

    As much as I think that Weeks is unqualified for the office she holds for several reasons, I must protest the K. Budd Dwyer comment in above. For those who don’t know, Dwyer, who was the PA State Treasurer, committed a violent suicide in front of a press conference on January 22, 1987. He had been convicted of a crime but steadfastly maintained his innocence. No serious person in Flagler County would want that to happen here. The pinhead who made that suggestion should be ashamed.

    If she would quietly resign and move to Arizona, Flagler County residents would be thrilled enough.

  5. Itchey says:

    From the article:”The canvassing board was scheduled to meet at noon to go through those paces, which include physically testing a portion of the voting machines and certifying in writing their functionality. But two of its members—George Hanns, chairman of the county commission, and Sharon Atack, a county judge—were unable to make. Both are out of town on personal matters.
    Its third member, Kimberle Weeks, the Flagler County Supervisor of Elections, suggested to Hanns and to Atack that they sign the testing and certification papers ahead of today’s canvassing board meeting,”

    Our elected S.O.E. asked a judge and a commsioner to sign the papers before the tests were done, and while they were not present?
    I believe that is called malfeasence of office, or at a minimum attempted fraud on her part.
    I think the States Attorney’s Office should immediatly begin a criminal investigation into these allegations.
    Our electorial process is fragile enough with legal wrangling, we sure as heck do not need this kind of leadership.

  6. kmedley says:

    Jersey Shores have Snooki, we have Kimberle B Weeks.

    “Its third member, Kimberle Weeks, the Flagler County Supervisor of Elections, suggested to Hanns and to Atack that they sign the testing and certification papers ahead of today’s canvassing board meeting,”

    Did our tax dollars pay for this legal advice from her attorney?

  7. tulip says:

    The fact that she actually asked a JUDGE to essentially commit fraud is beyond my wildest thoughts!! I’m surprised that judge didn’t stomp all over her.

  8. epic fail says:

    Will: Congrats on knowing who R. Budd Dwyer was! Here’s something else you can look up http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarcasm I’m sorry i hurt your feelings, i hope a cute puppy didn’t die somewhere in the world when you read what I typed.

  9. epic fail says:

    PT: I suppose you and everyone else has forgotten the crass statements that Ms. Weeks and her cohorts were generating in various internet forums after she was fired from the clerks office. It was quite embarrassing to me as a resident of Flagler County. It made our county look “crass”. Does anyone need any links to that garbage? It’s quite amusing to read it now that we can decipher the truth from fiction.

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      Epic, I don’t doubt it, and I appreciate what you’re saying. But we can at least strive to keep the level a conversation here at a slightly higher level.

  10. upset says:

    THIS IS DIRECTED AT ALL OF YOU INCLUDING YOU PIERRE TRISTAN. YOU SHOULD ALL BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF ATTACKING KIM WEEKS THE WAY YOU DO. YOU ARE ALL SLANDEROUS PEOPLE. YOU BELONG IN WASHINGTON WITH ALL THE LIARS. LOOKS TO ME YOU ARE DOING A LOUSY JOB IN THE CAPACITY YOU ARE IN. KIM WEEKS IS AN HONEST PERSON FOLLOWING THE FLORIDA STATUES WHICH FROM WHAT I CAN SEE MOST HERE DO NOT. WATCH OUT ALL THE REMARKS MADE HER ARE GOING TO COME BACK TO BITE YOU.

  11. upset says:

    PIERRE TRISTAN, YOU RUNNING A WEB SITE SHOULD HAVE A HIGHER REGARD FOR WHAT YOU PRINT AND AGREE WITH. SEEMS TO ME YOU ARE IN CAHOOTS WITH THE GOOD OLE BOYS.

  12. over it says:

    Niiiiice, good to know the “cohorts” still exist……..what a happy bunch. All the liars are in Washington, Pierre is doing a lousy job in “the capacity he is in”………huh?? LMAO, and Kim Weeks is an honest person “from what you can see” Might want to check your vision here: http://www.nei.nih.gov/photo/charts/images/EC02_72.jpg
    Pierre, I didn’t realize that “you are running a web site should have a higher regard for what you print and agree with”

    hahahahahahahahha sheeeeeeesh …………Epic fail was right on the money with the first post here…………

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