LETTERS: My absentee ballot was disqualified

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  • | 5:00 a.m. November 11, 2014
  • Palm Coast Observer
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Glitch with absentee ballot shows flaws in the system

Dear Editor:

I mailed in an absentee ballot about a week before the Nov. 4 general election. On Monday, Nov. 3, there was a letter in my mailbox from the Flagler County supervisor of elections stating that my signature did not match the signature on my voter registration form.

A quick check of flaglerelections.com FAQ showed that "If a voter has requested an absentee ballot and chooses to vote in person at the polls, the absentee ballot would then be canceled and the voter would be issued a new ballot." With that knowledge I went to my local polling station to vote at 6:30 p.m. on election day.

After presenting my driver's license the computer printed a receipt that said “see clerk” and indicated that I had already voted. I was handed the receipt and sent to another table. The volunteers at the other table had no idea what to do, so they made repeated calls to the main office in Bunnell; the line was constantly busy. After 15 minutes, I was finally handed the phone and spoke with a woman who informed me that despite what the website said, I could not be issued a new ballot.

When I objected to not being allowed to vote, she transferred me to her supervisor. The supervisor told me the same thing. Despite my request for her to either accept my absentee ballot or destroy my absentee ballot so I could vote at my local precinct, she claimed destroying it would be illegal, even at my request. The supervisor stated that, at that point, the only way that my vote would count was if I drove down to Bunnell from Belle Terre Elementary School and arrived before 7 p.m. to update my signature. She knew that was not possible, and she didn't care.

Florida Statute 101.68(1) states that "the supervisor shall compare the signature of the elector on the voter's certificate with the signature of the elector in the registration books or the precinct register to determine whether the elector is duly registered in the county." Nowhere does it state in the statute that any vote shall be disqualified (i.e. not counted) if the signature is not an exact match, which is clearly a subjective decision anyway.

The supervisor of elections does not have the authority to deny me my constitutional right to vote, when I am registered in Flagler County to do so. Despite that fact, the volunteers at my local precinct as well as the Supervisor of Elections Office in Bunnell denied me the right to vote.

Florida's absentee ballot statute is poorly written, contradictory and leaves a lot open to interpretation. For instance, if an absentee ballot signature is determined not to match the voter's registration, then how can the vote be considered cast if it is to be rejected? If my absentee ballot was rejected, then why did the computer at my precinct print that I had already voted? If it was rejected, why did the supervisor of elections refuse to allow me to cast a new ballot? There are clearly some serious flaws with validating and counting absentee ballots in Florida. Until these issues are ironed out, if you want your vote to count, don't ever use an absentee ballot.

Steve Ginnow
Palm Coast

Ronald Reagan group no longer relevant in Flagler County

Dear Editor:

This is in response to the letters in the Nov. 6 Palm Coast Observer from Bob Hamby, president of the Flagler County Ronald Reagan “Republican” Assembly, and from Linda Hansen, a member of that group. They were writing in response to my Oct. 26 letter about this group and its endorsed candidates.

In a fashion so typical of the RRR’s, they attacked the Palm Coast Observer for printing the letter and me for writing it. Understandably, Mr. Hamby is also defending his organization, and his description of the RRRA sounds noble; if only it were so.

A defense of this group is a difficult task; the voters in Flagler County have been reading about them for two years. The tactic now being employed by their defense team is to state that “they” did not sue anyone, “they” did not castigate every elected official in the county, “they” did not engage in any personal attacks on FlaglerLive Editor Pierre Tristam, etc. It was only their members and endorsed candidates who did those things. Seriously? That’s your defense?

I have yet to see one positive action or productive statement from them or from their endorsed candidates — quite the contrary. I have said this before, but it cannot be said too often. The RRR Assembly is unaffiliated with the Republican Party of Florida, and their candidates do not reflect the values of either the Republican or Democratic Party.

Now the election results are in. The Ronald Reagan “Republicans” endorsed six candidates, all of whom were members of their own organization, and they actively supported two other candidates running in November; two won. Their candidate success rate is a mere 25%, which, to coin a phrase, is a “shellacking.” They are no longer relevant in Flagler County politics.

Carol Mikola
Palm Coast

Few show up for the ‘Phantom’

Dear Editor:

What a shame! A sparse, enthusiastic, Flagler audience witnessed one of the most innovative ballet adaptations of "Phantom Of The Opera" Friday night at Flagler Auditorium.

The professional company, Dance Alive, performed flawlessly and brilliantly among elaborate costumes, lighting and sets. The questions many asked were, "Where were all the local dance teachers and their students? Where were the locals who wish to increase fine arts in this area?”

The only way to promote culture is to prove interest by attending functions such as these. Lets hope for the future.

John T. David
Palm Coast

Early voting gives everyone a chance to vote

Dear Editor:

In the Oct. 30 edition of the Palm Coast Observer, I read this in a letter to the editor: “Have we forgotten the images of endless lines of Americans waiting for hours on end to cast their ballot because (Gov. Rick) Scott reduced voting time to hinder Democratic-leaning voters, the elderly and the poor, from voting?”

What kind of B.S. is that? The "poor and elderly" can go to early voting much more conveniently than on the election day! Almost no waiting!

Another quote from the same letter: "Gov. Scott was fortunate to be elected in 2010 because President Obama had been in office for two years by then and stanched the loss of jobs and had America on a new course, with the wind at her back.”

Who is trying to kid whom? We all know what has happened since Obama took over the wheel of this ship, we call America: We are sinking and drowning in his imperial monarchy!

Carol Propper
Palm Coast

Celebrating National Nurse Practitioner Week

Dear Editor:

This year I celebrated my 20th year as a nurse practitioner. In honor of National Nurse Practitioner Week, here are a few basics:

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who have earned a master’s degree in nursing in a specialty area such as family practice, pediatrics, geriatrics, psychiatry, or neonatology. In the U.S. there are approximately 192,000 nurse practitioners, 12,800 in Florida and fewer than a dozen practicing in Flagler County. Florida has one of the most restrictive practice guidelines and it is the only state that prohibits nurse practitioners from prescribing controlled substances.

I spent my first 10 years practicing in the specialty of Ob/Gyn; then 9/11 happened and I offered up my skill set to the Air Force. Thanks to the Montgomery GI Bill, I was able to earn a post masters after a tour of active duty. I have been a family nurse practitioner since 2007, and I remain an Air Force reservist at Patrick Air Force Base, in Cocoa Beach.

In Flagler County I am an independent contractor, working part-time in pediatrics and part-time in family medicine, while I whittle away at War College for the Air Force. My scope of practice has included everything from newborn assessments to prostate exams and everything in between.

Flagler Beach is an ideal place to raise children, but the job opportunities are rare; thankfully, the military has taught me flexibility, perseverance, resilience and, most importantly, gratitude.

Mary Murphy
Flagler Beach



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