Secretary of State resigns

Local Secretary of State Hood, state’s top elections official, resigns

Secretary of State Glenda Hood, who was tapped to restore confidence in Florida’s maligned election system following the 2000 debacle but still faced criticism for decisions many saw as slanted by partisanship, resigned Tuesday.

Hood, whose resignation is effective Nov. 21, said she wanted to explore new opportunities and return home to her family after nearly three years as the state’s top elections official.

She declined to say whether she had specific plans but didn’t rule out a future run for political office.

“All of my family is in Orlando,” said Hood. ”It’s time to be with them.”

Hood, 55, a Republican and former Orlando mayor, was named by Gov. Jeb Bush in 2002 to take over the agency that oversees elections.

She became the first person to hold the secretary of state position after Florida voters changed the constitution to make it an appointed rather than elected cabinet post.

She was praised for helping Florida recover from the disputed 2000 presidential election, which was marred by problems with punch-card ballots, but also was criticized for her handling of the purging of felons from the voter rolls.

Hood also found herself defending against lawsuits over the election process and accusations she tried to slant the 2004 presidential race in Republicans’ favor.

As secretary of state, Hood helped introduce touch-screen voting in Florida, an effort to prevent a repeat of the punch-card ballot woes of the 2000 presidential election that led to recounts and a Supreme Court ruling, finally ending with George W. Bush as president.

Compiled by Brandon D. Oliver Source: The Associated Press