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Kurt Browning

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Kurt Browning
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Florida Secretary of State
Previous officeholder
In office
2007-2010, January 2011 - February 17, 2012
PartyRepublican
Compensation
Base salary$120,000
Elections and appointments
AppointedJanuary 2011
Appointed byRick Scott
Term limitsN/A
Education
Bachelor'sUniversity of South Florida
Master'sUniversity of South Florida
Websites
Office website
Kurt S. Browning is the former Republican Florida Secretary of State. He was first appointed to the statewide position by Governor Charlie Crist in December 2006. On Friday, April 30, 2010, he announced his retirement, three months earlier then had been stipulated under the state's Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP), in order to give "a newly named secretary of state more time to prepare for these very important elections."[1] He was reappointed in January 2011 by newly elected Governor Rick Scott,[2] and submitted his letter of resignation a year later, on January 11, 2012. Citing the long commute between his home of Dade City and the Capitol, Browning left office in February, 2012, and soon thereafter Gov. Scott appointed Ken Detzner to the post.

Biography

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.[3]

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.

Education

  • Bachelor's degree, University of South Florida in political science
  • Master's degree, University of South Florida in public administration

Political career

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.[4] 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.

Controversies

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."[5] 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."[6] 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."[6]

Personal

Browning resides in Dade City, Florida, with his wife Kathy.

See also

External links

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References

Political offices
Preceded by
Sue McCourt Cobb
Florida Secretary of State
2007–2012
Succeeded by
Ken Detzner