June 08, 2004

Fraudida: Ed Kast, the director of the state Division of Elections, abruptly resigned from his job Monday, just months before the 2004 presidential election.

Hmmm..Curiouser and curiouser...Yesterday, Al Gore denounced the "Democract" Mayor of Miami for betrayal during the Fraudida debacle of 2000, and today, the Director of Fraudida's Division of Elections resigns...Be vigilant, be vocal, be vociferous...

Gary Fineout, Miami Herald: Florida's elections chief, who just last month ignited controversy by pushing for a new purge of voters identified as felons ineligible to vote, abruptly resigned from his job Monday...
''When the key election official for the state resigns with just five months to go, it's a sign of serious disarray and instability,'' said Sharon Lettman, the group's Florida state director for its voter education and advocacy program. ``Just when county supervisors are looking for clear leadership, here comes another curve ball.''

Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

Posted on Tue, Jun. 08, 2004

CAMPAIGN 2004
State elections chief resigns
Ed Kast, the director of the state Division of Elections, abruptly resigned from his job Monday, just months before the 2004 presidential election.
BY GARY FINEOUT
gfineout@herald.com

Florida's elections chief, who just last month ignited controversy by pushing for a new purge of voters identified as felons ineligible to vote, abruptly resigned from his job Monday.

Ed Kast, 53, a veteran state employee, turned in a brief letter to Secretary of State Glenda Hood that said, ''I find it necessary to tender my resignation.'' The resignation is effective June 15.

A spokeswoman for Hood said that Kast was not asked to resign by the secretary, and that he was leaving to ``pursue other opportunities.''

In a statement, Hood said: ``We are grateful for Ed's leadership and dedicated service to the state. His departure is truly a loss for our department and he will be sorely missed.''

Kast, who has spent 14 years in state government, was earning $89,550. He had worked for the Department of State since 1994 and became director of the state Division of Elections nearly two years ago. He is being replaced by Dawn Roberts, a 41-year-old attorney who has been working as the general counsel for the department since last August. Roberts will be paid $91,404.

GROWING SCRUTINY

Kast's decision to step down comes in the midst of increasing scrutiny of the upcoming presidential election in Florida, which decided the presidency by 537 votes four years ago.

In early May, Kast alerted the state's 67 election supervisors that there were nearly 48,000 voters that the state had identified as possible felons ineligible to vote. Kast asked the supervisors to start notifying those on the list, in advance of purging the names, but many election supervisors have delayed so far, saying they remain concerned about the accuracy of the new felon list.

Lists of ineligible voters developed in 1999 and 2000 were riddled with errors and some supervisors ignored the list. Elections supervisors are meeting this week in Key West to discuss how much independent verification they should do before notifying voters that they may be ineligible.

One liberal group, People for the American Way Foundation, tried to use the news of Kast's resignation as a reason for putting the new purge list on hold. The group called on Hood to work more on restoring to the rolls those voters who may have improperly lost their eligibility in 1999 and 2000 -- and that she tell supervisors to delay processing the new felon list.

`CURVE BALL'

''When the key election official for the state resigns with just five months to go, it's a sign of serious disarray and instability,'' said Sharon Lettman, the group's Florida state director for its voter education and advocacy program. ``Just when county supervisors are looking for clear leadership, here comes another curve ball.''

Jenny Nash, a spokeswoman for Hood, called Lettman's comments ''misguided'' and said Hood has no legal authority to either restore voters or remove them from the rolls.

''The secretary doesn't tell the supervisors how to do their job,'' Nash said.



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Posted by richard at June 8, 2004 06:31 PM