First, Seminole County Elections Supervisor did not go to Malaysia to receive this award at the big International Centre for Parliamentary Studies gala last week. But he was honored there anyway, alongside some elections leaders from throughout the world.
Ertel was one of two Americans to win awards last month from the the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies. The other was former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
Ertel received the "International Electoral Ergonomy Award" for the implementation of an initiative to rebuild voter trust in elections.
In a press release from Ertel's office, Nina Corradini of the ICPS said, “The interactive design of the initiatives that have been implemented in the course of the Voter Trust Plan contributed to a decisive increase of confidence of voters into the liability and accuracy of elections in Seminole County Florida, which in turn had a very positive impact on voter turnout. Furthermore, the members of the Award Committee value the highly professional, determined and successful implementation of the Voter Trust Plan especially with regards to the communication strategy used. The Voter Trust Plan has been assessed as being inspiring and exemplary for election management bodies worldwide and hence to be award-worthy.”
Ertel's reaction in the press release: “Running a quality election is a combination of efficiency, service, cost and perhaps most importantly: trust. If the voters don’t trust the fairness of the election process, then they will have less trust in our government, and voter turnout will decrease. Our mission statement has a bottom line of ‘Voter Confidence for a reason, because we realize the value of each voter’s trust in the process. To do this is a team effort, Seminole County can be proud of the full-time elections staff and army of poll workers who make our mission statement a reality for our voters.”
Among 14 others honored by the group were Irfan Abdool Rahman – Electoral Commissioner of Mauritius; the Republic of the Philippines Commission on Elections; the Electoral Commission of South Africa; Attahiru Jega – Independent National Electoral Commission Nigeria; and Chairman Bruno Kaufmann – Election Commission of Falun, Sweden. Albright got a lifetime achievement award.
Ertel's office noted that in the 2012 elections, Seminole County had the highest voter turnout of any of Florida’s large (200,000+) counties, while also holding the fiscal line with the lowest cost-per-voter. The county had a higher voter turnout than 49 of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The county also had one of the best records in Florida for keeping voter lines short.