Audit: Division of Elections not complying with state laws
It’s been more than 13 years since Florida passed sweeping elections reforms but the way the Florida Division of Elections does business still isn’t up to snuff, according to findings in a state audit.
Auditors found the Division of Elections does nothing to follow up with counties that don’t meet the state’s minimum security standards, documenting the same problems year after year.
It also does nothing to ensure state voting machine examiners don’t have a financial stake in the outcome of voting machine tests they’re conducting.
Another troubling finding: State examiners never file a report if test results for a proposed voting machine model indicate that it isn’t up to state standards.
When a company applies to provide voting machines anywhere in Florida, state law requires the Division of Elections to complete six heavily documented reviews certifying whether the machines are up to state standards—and what went wrong if they’re not.
But the auditors found out that isn’t happening. When tests of voting machines start to show deficiencies, the auditors found that state examiners didn’t document why.
The state received seven applications from voting machine companies during the period of the audit. Of those seven, two did not receive proper documentation after they showed deficiencies.
State law directs the Division of Elections to seek reimbursement for all expenses related to testing a voting machine from the company applying to provide it.
The audit found that the division did not seek reimbursement for travel expenses—including meal expenses and mileage costs—totaling $3,602.
The auditors wrote that “while historically the Department had not sought reimbursement from the voting system applicant” for those expenses, managers said they would now.
Under state law, the Division of Elections has to review the security procedures of all 67 supervisors of elections offices across the state every two years, which it does.
But when those reviews show certain counties don’t meet the state’s minimum security standards, the Division of Elections simply sends the supervisor of elections a letter detailing the deficiencies—without any follow up to make sure that county complies.
Ironically, six of the 10 counties the auditors reviewed had the same security deficiencies on their 2011 security evaluations as they did on their evaluations from 2009.
The auditors also found that department credit cards given to employees weren’t cancelled immediately after an employee left the division, but didn’t find that any of the former employees had used their credit cards after leaving.
The Department of State, which is the umbrella organization over the Division of Elections, did not dispute any of the audit's findings.
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