Palm Beach County needs a change of leadership in the Supervisor of Elections Office, someone committed to consistently accurate and timely elections.
Either of incumbent Arthur Anderson's two opponents would be a big improvement over an elections neophyte whose disastrous performance has further eroded voter trust.
Given her government experience and credentials as a detail-obsessed state legislator, state Rep. Susan Bucher, D-West Palm Beach, is the better choice over Wellington Village Councilman Robert Margolis, 57, a longtime Procter & Gamble field trainer, area specialist and account manager.
During her eight years in the House, Bucher, 49, earned a reputation as a dogged citizen advocate who did her homework and stood up for what she believed in. Despite an often-abrasive style, she earned her colleagues' respect and proved to be an effective legislator, despite her minority party status.
Bucher is not an ideal candidate. Her challenge will be to build trust and credibility.
She comes to the race with a well-earned reputation as a partisan Democrat and attack dog in Tallahassee - troubling baggage, since the office she seeks must be unequivocally neutral. A partisan elections chief would be as damaging as one that can't get the job done.
Recent changes of address and residences give opponents fodder to question her reliability. No doubt those concerns and suspicions will last until Bucher proves herself both competent and impartial, if she wins the post.
Bucher says that while her legislative role required avid partisanship, she agrees it has no place in the supervisor's office. Her success, as a candidate and a potential elections supervisor, depends on how well she proves she can be balanced and fair. Given her ability in the House to reach across the aisle and push through a number of bipartisan measures, it's not a far-fetched goal.
Her advantage over Margolis is her grit and attention to detail. The Supervisor of Election's Office needs the meticulousness that Bucher promises to bring - in breaking down the elections process into individual components, each with their own set of controls, to limit mistakes; in reaching out to young adults, as voters and poll workers; in conducting an analysis of voter turnout to determine how to properly equip each precinct; and in seeking a uniform ballot design in Florida to improve clarity.
To restore a level of transparency and accountability lost during Anderson's reign, Bucher's first order of business would be to reopen the office's books to inspection by the county court clerk.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times