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Florida elections chief resigns when blackface photos emerge

Florida elections chief resigns when blackface photos emerge

He received numerous awards within Florida for increasing voter registration.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis accepted the resignation of Secretary of State Michael Ertel, who stepped down after photos of him in blackface surfaced.

Mr Ertel was Seminole County supervisor of elections for 14 years, winning four elections to the role. He also worked as a public information officer for both the Seminole County government and Visit Florida.

Ertel was first appointed as Seminole County Supervisor of Elections in 2005. The newspaper hasn't said how it got the photos or identified the source.

Ertel has generally earned high marks from his colleagues in the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections and was seen as an advocate for implementing the recently approved Amendment 4, which allows ex-felons to regain their voting rights.

In an appearance at a Panhandle news conference, DeSantis said he thought the controversy was "unfortunate" and that Ertel regretted the incident. He told reporters it was best for Ertel to make a quick, clean break, saying, "I want people who can lead and not have any of these things swirling around".

"He really kind of ran his own independent operation, used social media well, and I was shocked by this whole story", says Sancho. "Personally, I do not believe these pictures are representative of the Mike Ertel I know today".




Asked if Ertel had anything to say on his own behalf, his office simply confirmed the resignation.

Earlier Thursday Ertel was riding high in the saddle, three weeks after being sworn in as the state's Secretary of State.

But on Thursday, his Twitter account was deactivated.

In 2013, Ertel was the only American elections official who was honored at the International Electoral awards, where he won an award for building voter trust, according to a biography by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

Gov. DeSantis took Ertel's recommendation to suspend Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher, claiming the Democrat was "incompetent" and broke elections laws.

"I strongly recommend you [suspend Bucher]", Ertel wrote, "allowing fresh, competent leadership to take the reins of the much-maligned office".

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