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CRESPOGRAM REPORT

JANUARY 23, 2011

ATTORNEY GENERAL PUNTS
DDA STILL LOOKING FOR WAY TO KEEP ABSENTEE BALLOT INFO SECRET

Last October, when I first broke the story about the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and their Get-Out-The-Vote/Absentee Ballot campaign, I asked, as a public records request for copies of all the postcards that the DDA had received in response to this effort, which contained the information of those who had applied for Absentee Ballots.


Javier Betancourt, the Assistant Executive Director of the DDA, refused to provide me with the documents, and in turn sent the below email on October 21st to Miami Assistant City Attorney Victoria Xiques.


“Attached, please find an LSR and associated

documents for the review of a public records

request.  Given the sensitive nature of public

records requests, and the expectation of a

reasonable time frame for response, I would

ask for an expedited review.


For the assigned attorney….the basic question

is whether the DDA can and should, in response

to a public records request turn over copies we

made of absentee ballot applications that we

received.  State Statute 101.62 copied below

seems to suggest that this information is

confidential.


Please advise as soon as possible so that we

may comply with this request in a timely fashion,

and as always, please contact me with any

questions or concerns.


Thanks,

Javier”

Ms. Xiques refused to provide an opinion, and on November 18th, the DDA Board voted to ask Miami City Attorney Julie Bru, to seek an opinion from the Florida Attorney General on the issue of whether they were entitled to refuse to give me the copy of the postcards I asked for.


In early December, Assistant City Attorney Victoria Mendez filed the request on behalf of the DDA.


Shortly thereafter, I submitted my own arguments to the Attorney General’s Office.


Last friday, I received the following letter from the Florida Attorney General’s Office, that essentially conceded that they too decided not to get involved in this issue.

Part of the reason that the Attorney General decided not to get involved was that when the City of Miami,had to concede that the Miami-Dade Elections Supervisor, who they had expected to join them in support of this request, had declined.

(To read all of the documents, click on the above portion of letter.)


So now, the ball in the the Florida Elections Commission’s court.  I will be writing them tomorrow, although it’s be a lot easier if the DDA just gave me the documents, seeing that I already got the information from the Miami-Dade Elections Commission.

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