Jack Killingsworth slams Pinellas Supervisor of Elections listen10/31/08 Mitch E. Perry
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Despite criticism about the fact that she has opened only three pollling sites for early voting, Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark announced last night that 26 percent of all the registered voters in the county have already voted via early voting or absentee ballot.
Clark says she has mailed or issued more than 200,000 absentee ballots, the most ever for the county. More than 136,000 have already been returned.
Clark faces re-election Tuesday; she is facing off against 74-year-old Democrat Jack Killingsworth.
Today Killingsworth issued a press release announcing that he was joining Democratic National Committeeman Jon Ausman in calling for a grand jury investigation of Clark for suppressing the vote by opening so few early polling places.
Earlier this week, Killingsworth introduced large "time to vote" clocks at the three voting sites. He said they were to keep track of the wait times and show voters how long they must wait. Killingsworth said he is committed to setting up voting procedures for both early and Election Day voting where the wait is 15 minutes or less.
Ed Helm is the former chairman of the Democratic Party in Pinellas County and a spokesman for Jack Killingsworth. WMNF asked him if that was an unrealistic goal for the Democrat to propose.
Helm credited Deborah Clark in fighting Secretary of State Kurt Browning in terms of enforcing the "No Match, No Vote" law, which requires local election officials to allow voters to vote by provisional ballot when their identification does not match up against state and federal databases.
But he criticizes her for supporting the purchase of electronic voting machines, which the state has now effectively banned, with the demand for having a paper trail for votes.
And Helm said he was disturbed after meeting with Clark and representatives from the ACLU and the public. Helm said he told Clark about an incident four years ago at an early voting site in South St. Petersburg, in which a woman in a wheelchair said she could no longer wait in line when told it might take 45 minutes to vote.
WMNF contacted the Pinellas County Supervisors office earlier this week to comment on the call for a grand jury for her lack of opening up more early voting sites. That call was never returned.