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Politics

Disgusted Elections Super Susan Bucher Resigns, Doesn't Trust the Senate to Give Her a Fair Hearing

January 29, 2019 - 12:30pm

Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher resigned Monday, rather than appeal her suspension before a Republican Senate where, she claims, the odds would be stacked against her.

Having met with her attorney, Leonard Feuer, she said they concluded a hearing would be a waste of time, conducted by a handpicked Senate committee "with attorneys for DeSantis acting as prosecutors."

"This is my only option for due process," Bucher said in a statement issued Monday afternoon. "The law does not provide for guidelines or rules. Prior to my service as your supervisor, I was a very vocal member of the House minority party in Tallahassee. As such, I do not believe I can receive a fair hearing before a very partisan Senate. ...

"The laws and our Constitution need to be changed. Florida elected officials should not be afraid to express their views and stand strong for their constituents without fear of being removed from office through fabricated allegations which would not stand up in a court of law. There should be minimum standards for removal of elected officials by a governor so that political agendas are not the only reason."

Bucher's decision represents a reverse of her position on Jan. 18, when Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended her for incompetence, replacing her with prominent commercial real estate attorney Wendy Link.

“Today I stand before you willing to fight for democracy and justice,” a defiant Bucher said Jan. 21 before a cheering crowd in West Palm Beach. “Are you with me? Are you with me?” she asked, as people hollered “Yes!” 

An elected official can only be removed for cause, according to Florida law. That generally includes "malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, habitual drunkenness, incompetence or permanent inability to perform official duties; arrest for a felony or for a misdemeanor related to the duties of office; indictment for the commission of a federal felony or misdemeanor or state felony or misdemeanor." 

The governor's suspension order was based on a three-page brief from former Secretary of State Mike Ertel. In it Ertel cited a failure of Bucher to establish "trust in our elections" as the supervisor's primary blemish during the 2018 midterm elections.

More specifically, the order claimed Bucher stationed a polling place inside a gated community, missing election reporting deadlines; didn't submit improperly completed ballots to the county canvassing board, failed to allow news outlets to review recounts, altered ballot tabulating machines and never submitted a complete report citing her office's problems during the election.

Bucher blamed aging equipment for her inability to get midterm votes counted on time and replaced her with Republican West Palm Beach attorney Wendy Link. 

“Today, we turn our attention to the need to restore faith in our elections processes here in Florida,” DeSantis said in making the Jan. 18 announcement. “During the 2018 General Election, Florida had 65 out of 67 counties that ran good elections. Supervisor Bucher demonstrated she was unable to comply with the laws of our state and her duties as the supervisor of elections and failed to accurately report information related to the number of ballots that had been cast. For these reasons, I am suspending Susan Bucher as Palm Beach County supervisor of elections, effective immediately. It is time to turn the page in Palm Beach County to ensure accountability and transparency from our elections officials.”

In her statement, Bucher basically announced her career in elected office is over.

"The political atmosphere in this state and in our country has changed so much that I no longer wish to be associated with these elected officials," she said. "At this time, I believe my time is better spent as a concerned and involved citizen of our community."

Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith

Comments

This was the right decision in both regards. She screwed up, and she would not have received a fair hearing. The problem I have with it is Bay County and a few other Republican counties screwed up pretty bad too. Allowing faxed ballots, ballots after deadlines, unsealed, etc. Those are serious law and rule violations, Hurricane or not. I'm not saying they rise to the level of the others, but if you are going to do this right, you should announce the suspensions and the corrective actions for all of the others as well, so you avoid the look of one party rule, and one party justice.

I laughed when I read she wants the laws changed. These are the same laws she BROKE and reason for her getting the axe! Dems are a pathetic bunch. They have no regard for law & order and when they are caught in violation of the law, they demand the law to be changed. LOL. #MAGA

Susan Bucher is clueless as to ethics. The position of Election Supervisor is to be apolitical, being an advocate for one party or the other opens up a reasonable person to perceive a "Conflict of Interest." That conflict does not require any proof of wrong-doing, or quid pro quo exchanges or any proof of self-serving. A "Conflict of Interest" just exists by circumstances. Her advocacy of the Democrat Party makes her Partisan. Now, to take this to the next level, why does every election come down to irregularities and recounts in her district? Why is it always Republicans winning and Democrats coming in with "uncounted votes?" She was engaged in more than conflicts of interest and an investigation should ensue. I am guessing that her resignation was a deal her attorney made so she is not prosecuted for serious crimes.

What outrageous statements from a supposedly apolitical elected official. I recognize the undeniable evidence correlates to directly to her incompetence and borderline malfeasance that would make any culpable person squirm. Bucher doesn't want the 'hot seat' accountability the citizenry deserves via a public forum, so she raised the white flag and retreated. In essence, a mea culpa and plea of 'no contest'. That's good for Palm Beach County.

She resigned rather than suffer the public exposure of her incompetence and bias.

Florida has had a one-party state government for a long time ... too long, in fact ... and that 'one-party' is the Republican Party ... which has an authoritarian and autocratic history ... especially in the South. There's no chance that Bucher and Snipes ... or probably any Democratic official over whom the governor or legislature has control ... would ever get an impartial and fair hearing here. The ONLY "right" in Florida at this time is the "Do as I say, not as I do!" rightwingism of the Republican Party. It's their way or the highway at the moment ... but changing demographics will ultimately cause the lake to turn over! Good Luck, Ms, Bucher! Your intuition is correct ... you won't get a fair hearing ... nor will Ms. Snipes! Fugeddaboudit ... and go enjoy yourself!

Dear Blue.... and another jealous loser! Don't cry its the party in charge that is at fault. It has been obvious that Florida has had a problem with Snipes & Bucher. Its not that they were loser Democrats, the fact is in and the truths ever present, they did not abide by the state and/or Federal Laws. How many more frail, dirty looking, improperly dressed Democrats, have won on purpose, while Snipes and Bucher were not abiding by the routine rules and laws. Why are all the Democrat politicians so old and frail. Haven't they stole enough money to retire. Look at Bernie Sanders. He has three homes...... the last one, on a lake, given too him by Hillary Clinton, to make him bow down to her, after she and the DNC cheated Bernie out of the nomination.

"Republican control" has only been for about 20 years,... and Florida has been FAR BETTER OFF for it. "Redneck control freaks" could never control residents without sheets over their heads...

Meanwhile, your democrat elections officials have rental storage full of “missing boxes of voted ballots” just waiting to see how many they need for a “ Win”!! It’s not a one time fluke, it’s how she worked, we’ve seen it before, from her, repeatedly!!

"Alternative facts", I presume?

"Florida has had a one-party state government for a long time ... too long, in fact ... and that 'one-party' is the Republican Party ... which has an authoritarian and autocratic history ... especially in the South. " Seriously?! The Democratic part ruled Florida (and most of the South for that matter) for the better part of a century. Only in the 90's did that begin to change, and thank God it did.

Those particular "southern Democrats" became Republicans in the civil rights era so they could continue to pursue segregation while the leadership of the Democratic Party and the northeastern Democrats were actively supporting integration and civil rights.

Well said!!!!

This isn’t the first time her incompetence has been evident. She made the right decision.

Another falls on the sword!

Instead of puking-up a worthless and unbelievable defense focusing upon incompetence

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