Absentee ballots orders cause dispute

Memo sent out by Secretary of State Ken Detzner

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - With the gubernatorial election less than a year away, another fight is ramping up with the secretary of state and the supervisors of election.

Supervisors of elections are fighting back after the secretary of state sent a directive ordering them not to collect absentee ballots anywhere but their office, but the supervisors say voters should come first.

"The directive's not worth the paper it's written on," said Ion Sancho, of Leon Co. Supervisors of Elections.

In a memo sent by Secretary of State Ken Detzner, supervisors of elections are being told not accept any absentee ballots not turned in to a supervisor's office. The supervisor's attorney says the battle may have to be settled in court.

"If you have a major difference of opinion about how a law is to be construed, there are the courts," Supervisors of Elections Attorney Ron Labasky said.

Channel 4 reached out to the secretary of state, who works for the governor, several times. They refused to respond to requests."

In 2012, several hundred thousand Floridians used drop off locations.

"It is something that we've found to be very popular with the voters in the areas it's done," Labasky said.

Sancho says he will continue following Florida law, not the memo sent out by Detzner.

"I think Secretary of State Ken Detzner is taking too many cues from the governor. And quite frankly, he needs to listen to the citizens whom he's supposed to serve," Sancho said.

The Pinellas County supervisor is also ignoring the directive. Pinellas County is preparing for a special election to replace recently deceased Representative Bill Young. Supervisors using the drop offs remain confident they are following state law.

"We have statutes that are passed by Florida legislature, which we're required to follow," Sancho said.

Labasky says the drops off locations for absentee ballots are secure.

Supervisors of elections are set to meet in Sarasota later this month.

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