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Detzner acknowledges, “We could have done better”

Posted Nov 9, 2012 by William March

Updated Nov 9, 2012 at 01:40 PM

In a tough grilling on CNN about the embarrassing delay in counting Florida’s votes and the hours-long lines at polls, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner acknowledges, “We could have done better,” and says he and Gov. Rick Scott will seek solutions.

In the interview, CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield repeatedly asks Detzner, a Scott appointee, why the state wasn’t ready for the number of voters who showed up at early voting sites and at polls on election day.

During the early voting period, Scott and Detzner refused to do what Gov. Charlie Crist had done in 2008 and extend early voting hours because of the long lines.

Scott has since acknowledged the state’s election procedures need to be reformed.

Banfield said Florida “has been the laughingstock of this country when it comes to problems at the ballot box,” and that Tuesday’s voting added to that reputation.

Detzner responded that local elections supervisors were responsible—“Florida has a decentralized system of election. Independent supervisors are elected,” he said. “Let me point out that while the days (of early voting) were cut the number of hours were not … It created greater flexibility for the supervisors.”

But when Banfield then asked, “How can you tell me early voting was successful” when lines were six or more hours long, Detzner responded, “Let’s talk about the solution. … we need to take a very serious look at that and open up the number of locations.”

He promised action by Scott and the state Legislature, which passed a controversial 2011 law cutting the number of early voting days from 14 to eight, and allowing, but not requiring, local elections supervisors to cut the number of hours.

“We were following the law,” Detzner said. “It appears to me now we need to redress the issue regarding the locations. The governor has asked me to look at this issue. … The Legislature will be asking those questions of me and I’ll be happy to answer those questions if they want to reconsider that.”

Asked whether he was sorry for the voters’ experience, he said, “I can say that it was a learning experience but we’re listening to constituents ... We could have done better, we will do better. This problem is going to be solved.”

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