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Seminole Supervisor of Elections Named Secretary of State

December 28, 2018 - 3:00pm
Michael Ertel
Michael Ertel

Michael Ertel, Seminole County’s supervisor of elections since 2005, has been named to oversee elections statewide by Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis’ transition team on Friday announced the appointment of Ertel, a 49-year-old Republican, as secretary of state, a position that requires Senate confirmation.

Along with overseeing elections, Ertel will run a state department that also includes the Division of Corporations, the Division of Cultural Affairs, the Division of Historical Resources and the Division of Library and Information Services.

“I look forward to Mike bringing not only his elections expertise to Florida voters, but his steady leadership to the Department of State, as it seeks to improve the quality of life for all Floridians through its various activities, including preserving the state’s historical and cultural heritage; maintaining an open government by providing all Florida citizens access to information; and, enhancing Florida communities through business-friendly grant programs,” DeSantis said in a prepared statement.

Ertel, who was first appointed as Seminole County supervisor by then-Gov. Jeb Bush and then was elected voters four times, will replace Secretary of State Ken Detzner. Gov. Rick Scott in January 2012 appointed Detzner, who is paid $142,000 a year.

After Friday’s announcement, Ertel tweeted that DeSantis “has a bold vision for Florida. I am proud to be a part of his team!”

Groups such as the League of Women Voters of Florida have often clashed with Detzner and his department. Asked for comment about Ertel, League of Women Voters President Patti Brigham said the organization looks “forward to working with Florida's new secretary of state on many vital election issues, most immediately the implementation of Amendment 4.”

Questions have swirled in recent weeks about how the state will move forward with Amendment 4, a ballot measure approved by voters in the Nov. 6 election. That measure will automatically restore the voting rights of most felons after they have fulfilled their sentences.

Ertel, who grew up in Seminole County, served eight years with the U.S. Army. His service included a stint as a public-affairs representative, and he was part of Operation Able Sentry in which the Army set up a base in Macedonia to monitor sanctions against Serbia.

In returning to Seminole County, Ertel remained in the public-affairs field, serving in that role for Seminole County before the appointment by Bush.

After the 2012 presidential election, in which Florida was criticized nationally for long lines and other issues that caused irritation for voters, Ertel defended how the election was conducted.

"We had a good election statewide in Florida; we have to remember this," Ertel told members of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee in January 2013. As to late-night jokes at the expense of the state, Ertel added: "I don't care what Jay Leno thinks. I care what Florida voters think."

In July 2017, Ertel took to Twitter as privacy concerns mounted about data breaches and identity theft in response to a special commission created by President Donald Trump that sought voter information --- including dates of birth, party affiliation, and the last four digits of Social Security numbers.

Ertel tweeted that he had spent “the past several days” trying to convince voters to remain registered.

“In my 12 years in office, I've never had to have this many of these conversations,” Ertel tweeted. “Please don't let an action you disagree with have the effect of silencing your most powerful tool to change or affirm it: your vote.”


Local politicians/ election supervisors should not be in charge of counting our votes because they have an obvious conflict of interest. Republican election supervisors want Republican candidates to win so they can keep their cushy jobs or get promotions and more money and visa versa for the Democrats. You voted but was it counted? We have no idea what happens to our ballet after putting it into the counting machine. For all we know we could be putting our votes into a shredding machine! All ballots should have a tracking number and be in duplicate so the voter has a paper record of how he/she voted and when and where it was counted by tracking their ballot on the web or a 800 number. For example my ballot number is FL3887390 and it was registered and counted as vote # 6,4987,544 for president john smith and # 1,898,651 vote for Governor Jones, and so on down the line of candidates you voted for you will have proof how and when your vote was counted! If Fedx can track billions of packages up to the minute for their senders to their final destinations then surely our votes,which are vastly more important, can be tracked also and the voters given proof their votes were counted correctly! No more "trust us" by the local Hacks; we want proof our time and effort of voting was counted correctly! My true story, "Surviving America" by P. M. Jones (my pen name) is available at

Probably the only person who might ... MIGHT ... be able to oversee and guarantee fair and open and honest elections in this state is ... Jesus. But ... he'd have a whole lot of people working against him!

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