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Seminole elections chief Mike Ertel takes to social media to defend voting integrity

Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Mike Ertel wants voters to know that that the voting process is sound and he believes it was not corrupted by millions of illegal votes in November as President Donald Trump has alleged.

Ertel, a Republican, took to social media Wednesday morning to spread that message. He conceded there may be problems to be fixed and attempts by some to manipulate voting. But he sought in a Facebook post Wednesday morning to explain that the system should ensure voter trust. He also said trust in the democratic process hangs in the balance.

Ertel tagged 25 other Florida supervisors of elections as well as Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner, assuring that his post would be seen by their followers as well as his own. Among those he tagged was Clay County Supervisor Chris Chambless, who is president of the Florida State Supervisors of Election Association [Ertel is not a member.]

Ertel said he also would be tweeting out a similar message today on Twitter.

“President Trump has created quite the kerfuffle with today’s tweets concerning voter fraud,” Ertel wrote in his post. “To be clear: voter fraud is likely one of the least committed felonies in America, and barring system-wide collusion, it is simply not the case that ‘millions voted illegally.’

“However, there are always political operatives who attempt to manipulate the process throughout, and to pretend it doesn’t exist at all, is to either be putting your head in the sand or to exercise an extreme naïveté of the presence of dirty political tactics,” he continued. “There is good news: Florida’s system, while not perfect, is among the best at ensuring voter trust. We have hard-working, ethical supervisors of elections, and Seminole County is home to pollworkers and staff who together constitute America’s Finest Elections Team.”

Ertel then pointed out a number of issues he believes can and should be addressed, including many that already are, including strong enforcement of existing laws, “realistic voter registration guidelines,” “common sense photo ID laws with non-arguous provisions for those without an ID,” and savvy, prepared local officials.

“Like with any endeavor, we can’t stop all bad actors from attempts, but we can work together to ensure their efforts are thwarted. An honest appraisal of the process is fair, and if done in a dignified, professional manner, could certainly bear positive results,” Ertel concluded.

“Because after this new discussion, the trust in the democratic process of electing our republic’s leaders now hangs in the balance.”

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Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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