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|Florida Secretary of State|
|2007-2010, January 2011 - February 17, 2012|
|Elections and appointments|
|Appointed by||Rick Scott|
|Bachelor's||University of South Florida|
|Master's||University of South Florida|
Before becoming secretary, Browning was supervisor of elections for Pasco County, FL for 26 years. He simultaneously served as president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections, as a member of the State Planning Committee for the Help America Vote Act, and as a member of former Governor Jeb Bush's task force on election procedures. Browning holds an M.P.A. from the University of South Florida and a B.A. in Political Science from the same.
Browning serves as President of Downtown Dade City Main Street Incorporated, and the State Assocation of Supervisors of Elections. He is also a member of the Boy Scouts of America, and Pasco County United Way.
- Bachelor's degree, University of South Florida in political science
- Master's degree, University of South Florida in public administration
Prior to his appointment as Florida Secretary of State, Browning spent 26 years serving as the Supervisor of Elections for Pasco County. During his tenure as Supervisor of Elections, Secretary Browning was involved in Florida’s elections community through service as the President of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections; as a member of Governor Jeb Bush’s Task Force on Election Procedures, Standards and Technology; and as a member of the State Planning Committee for the Help America Vote Act.
Secretary of State 2006-2012
Browning was first appointed to the statewide office in April 2006 by then Gov. Charlie Crist. He was reappointed in January 2011 by the newly elected Gov. Rick Scott. He submitted his resignation a year later, agreeing to remain in office until February 17, 2012 in order to oversee the Florida presidential preference primary election on January 31. He cited the strain of commuting between the state Capitol in Tallahassee and Dade City, where he lives with his wife, Kathy, as his reason for leaving office and indicated he may run for superintendent of schools in his home county of Pasco. He was succeeded by Ken Detzner.
In the following video, Browning speaks to reporters outside the Governor's office on Wednesday, January 11, after submitting his letter of resignation as Secretary of State.
Voter roll review
Before resigning his post as secretary in early 2012, Kurt Browning (R) had been working for months to gain access to a federal immigration database which would allow Florida's elections division to accurately identify and remove ineligible voters from the state's voter rolls. Browning pursued this goal on the urging of Gov. Scott, according to an account Browning gave the Associated Press in May. At the time when Scott made his initial request for Browning to weed out non-citizens from the voter rolls, the only strategy Florida had in place for determining a resident's eligibility was to reference the state's drivers license database, a strategy which yielded inflated numbers, and in which Browning was not sufficiently confident to share search results with elections supervisors. His lack of confidence in the system led Browning to seek access from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to its tracking system for non-citizens. He was ultimately denied access. When Browning resigned, he was still reluctant to pass on the information generated by the flawed drivers license system to the elections supervisors, for fear that acting on them would incite a "firestorm of press and criticism." When Detzner took over, he continued Browning's work, but did not continue in the same vein of restraint. "Although Mr. Detzner acknowledged the flaws in the database, he forwarded the names to county election supervisors." Detzner instructed the supervisors to send letters to those whose names turned up on the search, requesting they respond within 30 days with verification of their citizenship or else their names will be removed from the rolls. Detzner's establishment of a 30 day window for suspected non-citizens to come forward with proof of eligibility has drawn accusations of discriminatory voter disenfranchisement by the U.S. Justice Department, and violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act due to the timing of the voter roll review being so close to an election. An article published in the New York Times on June 1 summarized Florida's recent attempts to prune its voter rolls, including Browning's account of his experience leading the charge as secretary. Though Browning cited the long commute as his reason for resigning, the article suggests that the voter roll review was also a factor: "Lacking confidence in the search, Mr. Browning resigned early this year."
Browning resides in Dade City, Florida, with his wife Kathy.
- Florida Secretary of State
- Ken Detzner
- Governor of Florida
- Gov. of Florida Rick Scott
- Former Gov. Charlie Crist
- Project Vote Smart - Kurt Browning biography
- Florida Department of State Official Website
- NY Times, U.S. Justice Department Asks FL to end voter purge
- The St. Petersburg Times "SOS Kurt Browning resigns" 30 April, 2010
- Miami Herald, "Kurt Browning is back. And double-dipping," January 6, 2011.
- Florida Department of State, "About the Secretary," accessed August 24, 2011.
- Tampa Bay Times, "Kurt Browning resigns as Florida's secretary of state," January 12, 2012
- Associated Press "Rick Scott started push to non-citizens voter rolls," May 22, 2012
- The New York Times, "U.S. Justice Department asks Florida to end voter purge," June 1, 2012
Sue McCourt Cobb
|Florida Secretary of State
| Succeeded by|