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State Elections Director Abruptly Resigns

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(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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campaign 2012 new2 State Elections Director Abruptly Resigns

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – One of the top officials involved in the Florida GOP’s purging of voters ahead of the presidential election in November has resigned just weeks before the state’s primary.

Division of Elections director Gisela Salas, who spent 26 years working in the elections office in Miami-Dade County, will leave the job on Wednesday to take a position closer to her home in Ocala.

Salas was hired in May 2011 to oversee the office and was deeply involved in the effort by Republican Governor Rick Scott to purge voter rolls of what they deemed were “non-citizens.”

The list of more than 2,600 voters produced by the state was so flawed that all 67 counties refused to carry out the request to disqualify those voters until they could provide proof they were legal residents.

Just like voter ID laws across the rest of the country, the purging did re-open deep scars of poll taxes and other vote-rigging tactics, as most of those targeted were minorities or Democratic voters.

The state will re-start the purge after it gets access to a federal immigration database, which hasn’t happened yet.

A spokesman for Secretary of State Ken Detzner said the decision to resign was unrelated to her job performance and, “This is her decision.”

Some in the state though are questioning the timing of the move. Ann McFall, the Republican elections supervisor from Volusia County, questioned the timing.

“She was a good person,” McFall said. “She would never do this two weeks before an election.”

Salas will be replaced by Deputy Secretary John Boynton, who will oversee the division, according to the News Service of Florida. Detzner’s office noted that Boynton had been with the elections agency for 39 years.

“I want to assure you that the Division of Elections will be under the leadership and guidance of very experienced managers,” Detzner said.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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