The Imeson Park office of the Duval County Supervisor of Elections, on Jacksonville’s Northside, has had many incarnations. It was once a call center for America Online, back when America Online required call centers. Before that, it was a Sears Outlet store, a repository for slightly bruised appliances and irregular clothing.
Now, of course, it’s integral to the Duval Supervisor of Elections operation, and it’s where Duval SOE Mike Hogan congregated Friday afternoon with Clay County SOE Chris Chambless (who also helms the state association of SOEs) and Secretary of State Ken Detzner to talk about being “ready for 2016” and beyond.
A central question on the minds of many: the challenges redistricting scenarios create for those getting ready to administer elections.
FloridaPolitics.com asked the three for comment, and Detzner demurred initially, saying that he tried not to comment on issues in active litigation. However, Hogan and Chambless were under no such constraint.
Hogan noted that “part of administering elections is planning [based on] where candidates are running,” and supervisors need to know. He said that “perhaps in December,” that knowledge will be finalized.
However, there is a “drop-dead date,” and Chambless spelled it out.
“It’s very important that courts resolve this issue by the middle of December,” Chambless said, because overseas military voters have to be sent ballots, and other preparations have to be made, courts are “strongly encouraged to bring this to a close.”
Detzner noted that the court schedule made him “optimistic” that the issue would be resolved in time to fulfill the SOE deadline.
Another compelling subject: security challenges related to online voter registration, to be implemented in 2017, which Detzner was able to talk about.
There is a report due in January to the Legislature, Detzner said, and that database consultation is being made with Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and Tax Collector offices.
However, Detzner said, there is “some level of risk in terms of security.” Specifically, “security risks from within.”
The level used for this process is Palo Alto 5, a military-level of security.
“Security is one of our top priorities,” Detzner said, saying that a single IT security person is devoted to this project, and he is a direct report of the Secretary of State.
Meanwhile, Detzner assured the media, “security clearance and background checks” will be “required for system access.”