A lawyer and former state legislator, Secretary of State Cord Byrd was appointed in May 2022 by Governor Ron DeSantis to serve as Florida’s Secretary of State. Since May, Secretary Byrd has traveled to each of Florida’s 67 counties, meeting with every county Supervisor of Elections and inspecting every county election office.
In this Episode of Who’s Counting? with Cleta Mitchell, Cleta talks with Secretary Byrd about Florida’s system of election administration: an appointed Secretary of State, with 67 separately elected county Supervisors of Elections (SOEs), and how they work together to operate one of the best election systems in America.
As a legislator, Secretary Byrd helped shepherd Governor DeSantis’s recent election reform bills through the 2022 legislative session, notably creating a guarantee of ‘reasonable access’ of citizens to the voting process (“no pizza boxes in the windows of Florida’s election offices!”) to the creation of the first in the nation Office of Election Crimes and Security, as a Division of the Secretary of State’s office. Already, the new bureau has referred several matters to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, including an illegal ballot harvesting scheme recently uncovered by a local citizens election integrity task force in Orange County (Orlando).
Secretary Byrd has been a volunteer poll watcher and election day attorney, was part of the army of attorneys during the 2000 presidential recount and authored the Florida law that all Florida voters mark a paper ballot that is retained to verify and confirm voting machine tabulations.
Secretary Byrd personifies the excellence in executive appointments by Gov. DeSantis (America’s Governor!) that people so admire. Bullish on Florida’s election system, Secretary Byrd offers in this episode a bird’s eye view into how elections ought to be run: peaceful, lawful and honest.