Tuesday, Aug. 14 is primary election day in Florida. In the lead up to the election, the Town-Crier is offering our opinions on some of the candidates voters will find on the ballot. This week, we make endorsements in the races for Palm Beach County Property Appraiser, Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections and the various judicial races on the ballot.
PALM BEACH COUNTY SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS — There are two challengers seeking to unseat Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher: Delray Beach Mayor Nelson “Woodie” McDuffie, an 18-year employee of the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser’s Office, and former elections office employee Caneste Succe. As we all know, the Supervisor of Elections Office has been plagued with problems over the past decade. Following the disastrous 2000 presidential election “butterfly ballot” fiasco, the office has been under the microscope, where even small glitches are magnified. For the most part, Bucher has done a good job getting things on track after some not-so-smooth sailing by her predecessor, Dr. Arthur Anderson. Since taking office, Bucher has run more than 220 races and 37 ballot questions over 24 election days. It’s unfortunate that one of those races was the disputed Wellington municipal election, which was marred by a glitch that incorrectly tabulated the results. McDuffie has quite an impressive résumé and plenty of managerial experience that make him a qualified candidate for this job. He said his goal is to produce timely and accurate election results and take responsibility for everything his office does. It’s likely he would handle the job’s responsibilities commendably. However, one of the biggest problems with this office is that since Theresa LePore lost her post following the 2000 debacle, we haven’t had an incumbent in there for more than a single term. Before anyone gets truly up to speed, we vote them out. While that might have been the right thing to do in previous cycles, this time around, it’s not the case. We already have someone in the office with four years of experience and an overall decent record. Bucher could learn to be more diplomatic with the media, but she has transitioned well from a partisan legislator to someone who’s above the fray. Though there have been glitches, she has also learned from them. Anyone new at this point will have a lot more learning to do. Given the importance of this office, we prefer to keep the learning curve to a minimum. The Town-Crier endorses the re-election of Susan Bucher as Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections.