Like a virgin 

Unlike her predecessor in the secretary of state's office, Glenda Hood has promised to disconnect herself from politics in the presidential elections. Good for her. Also unlike her predecessor, Hood will be overseeing an election system that's never been tried before. Not so good for her.

Hood inherited an office with a method of voting "that has never been used," says Paul Craft, Hood's bureau chief of voting-systems certification. In essence, her office is tasked with "a new job we haven't had before."

For example, the state now manages the database that keeps felons off voter lists. A private company used to do it. Also, Congress passed the Help Americans Vote Act last year, which moves the job of policing voter rolls from counties to the state elections office, in this case, Hood.

Craft is not sure how accurate the new felon-reporting system will be, because it's never been used. It's supposed to be self-correcting, he says. More importantly, Florida will not seek out-of-state felony records, meaning felons convicted elsewhere who have not had their rights restored here are on the honor system.

"There's no way of doing quality control," Craft says.

At least we can all take comfort from the fact that Hood's in charge.



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