Jam-packed agenda focused on 2012 with Susan Bucher
South Florida 912 had its November meeting at the Lantana Branch of the PBC Library last night. Since this was a different night of the week than we usually meet and it overlapped with a Christian Coalition’s meeting, we joined forces. Also present were quite a few folks from the Palm Beach County Tea Party.
Shannon Armstrong, co-founder, kicked off the meeting and then introduced Doug Armstrong, co-founder to lead us in the prayer, followed by Virginia Brooks of the Christian Coalition for the Pledge of Allegiance. Shannon then spoke about the Charity of the Month and how she also needed volunteers to prepare bags, and donate a few food items for serving the needy on Thanksgiving day.
Following a brief introduction about getting active in the 2012 cycle, Shannon turned the meeting over to Doug who gave us a heartfelt talk on Courage – our Value of the Month. He described his grandparents’ journey to the US from Canada, against a backdrop of them holding an American Flag received when they finally became American citizens in their 50s. As Doug described other ways in which all of us have to overcome fears and demonstrate Courage, he segued into the Courage it will take for us to turn things around in 2012.
Iris Scheibl described the Election Cycle theme of the meeting and showed a short video about True the Vote and the importance of involvement in the actual election process – from validating registrations to poll-working and poll-watching. Shannon then introduced Susan Bucher, Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections (SOE), our key-note speaker.
Mrs. Bucher talked about the importance of true and honest elections. She described actions she’s taken in improving the process since taking over from her predecessor. Besides significant cost-cutting for efficient use of tax-payer dollars, her primary goal is to ensure that the Elections results are the story, and not the inadequacies or delays caused by the SOE! She spoke about the importance of the roles of poll-worker and poll-watcher and how poll-watchers in the latest Lake Park election earlier in the week did a great job. Poll-workers are human, and the poll-watcher can go a long way in observing and preventing problems. She encouraged folks to get active in either role. The Supervisor also mentioned that as long as poll-watchers were properly vetted and had been registered with her – new this year – they can be moved from precinct to precinct as needed – a big improvement over prior years. She talked about changes that have gone into effect recently – a shorter early voting schedule, rigorous voter registration rules *, and changes in the length of absentee ballot requests. Also mentioned was that young people are strongly encouraged to become poll-workers and she is doing out-reach in that regard. She fielded questions from the audience. Among them were: What about duplicate registrations and votes, eg by snowbirds, across states? – (FL Secretary of State in Tallahassee would have to do reciprocal efforts with other states); when are absentee ballots counted? – (results tallied first); when can address changes be made? (can actually made at the precinct when about to vote – although this is strongly discouraged – please correct your address via the SOE prior to coming to vote).
(Ed. Note: * Mrs. Bucher also said that if a group wants to have a voter registration drive – inform the SOE and they will provide someone to actually handle the voter registrations. That way one can’t run afoul of the new voter registration law changes.)
Next up was Mark Hoch, Political Director of the Republican Party of Palm Beach County. Mark talked about how each candidate, ballot issue, and party can have a poll watcher. People can sign up by contacting him and the Party or via their candidates. The candidates generally relegate the poll-watcher training to him and he will be conducting sessions prior to each of the elections.
Tara Ford described a plan that she has, working in conjunction with the GOP, to cover early voting locations with volunteers outside of the buildings, manning tents with information and ensuring that solicitation rules are followed.
So – certainly amongst all of these options – there is a way for you to do your part to ensure Honest Elections in 2012!
Announcements and candidates followed the speakers:
Bette Anne Starkey announced an awesome opportunity to see Anita MonCrief and Brandon Darby next Tuesday, 11/15. Bring your friends of any political persuasion – this is not to be missed if you haven’t heard them before:
Tami Donnally, County Chair for Team Cain announced a Rally for Cain on Wednesday, 11/16. If you haven’t had a chance to hear any of the presidential candidates in person – now is the time to do start!
Laura Hanley, Candidate for County Commission District 1 spoke about the Veterans’ Day Parade Friday morning, and then about what she will focus on as a Commissioner. Her twin daughters then recited a poem that they wrote in support of their mother. Laura also then kindly volunteered to donate the remaining food item for the Thanksgiving meal, mashed potatoes.
Mike Lamayer, Candidate for Fl Senate District 25 – spoke about votes that his opponent had made recently.
Albert Key – Candidate for County Commission District 1 described a plan he was pursuing for easing foreclosures by having distressed homeowners work with their banks.
Thanks to the set-up and clean-up team for arranging the room, and always to Mickey Polulack for the sound-system! Also to Alexa Armstrong who announced and collected the 50:50 tickets. And to the 50:50 winner, David Donnally – who donated his winnings back to South Florida 912.
Check back at the website and in your emails for our December meeting plans! But get involved and get active. We get the government we deserve.
Some Pictures of the event: