Florida Secretary of State Steps Down

With election 2006 just a year away, Jeb Bush says he will act quickly to choose a new secretary of state to oversee the balloting. Glenda Hood has announced her resignation, citing a desire to spend more time with her family.

Hood says she’s proud of the reforms that took place during her term, which included the internationally scrutinized 2004 election.

“We had higher voter turnout, we had more people involved in the process, we really put in place and assured the integrity of our process.”

But there was plenty of controversy leading up to the 2004 election, and Glenda Hood has many critics who are probably just as glad to see her go.

Republican Hood angered Democrats when she stood by Florida’s flawed felon purge list until the state was forced to abandon it, dismissed concerns about touch-screen voting machines that don’t leave a paper trail, and restricted the use of Provisional Ballots.

Larry Spaulding of the American Civil Liberties Union repeatedly took her to court.

“Our grade for her during her tenure, certainly in voting rights, would be about a D.”

Leon County Elections Supervisor Ion Sancho says the problem is the process. The secretary of state is appointed by the governor.

“We need to have an independent board of elections not under the control of a political figure.”

But Jeb Bush doesn’t see any need for a change.

“Secretary Hood proves that if you’re a person of integrity, you can manage to run elections and do the other important responsibilities of the department.”

The governor says he hopes to name Hood’s replacement by the end of the month.