- Ertel resigned around 2:00 p.m. on Thursday after two images were released by the Tallahassee Democrat
- The images were said to have been taken at a private Halloween party in 2005 when Ertel was the Seminole County Supervisor of Elections
- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis accepted Ertel’s resignation on Thursday
- When asked for comment Ertel replied “There is nothing I can say”
Michael Ertel, Florida’s Secretary of State, put in his resignation on Thursday after a picture surfaced of him in blackface mocking Hurricane Katrina victims in 2005 when he was the Seminole County Supervisor of Elections.
Florida newspaper, the Tallahassee Democrat, released the pictures but did not go into detail on how they acquired them. Ertel confirmed that he was the man in the pictures. When asked about the photos, Ertel commented, “There’s nothing I can say.”
The pictures of Ertel dressed as a Hurricane Katrina victim and painted in blackface were taken at a private Halloween party in 2005. On the front of the shirt Ertel was wearing he had written the words “Katrina victim.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis accepted Ertel’s resignation after appointing him as Secretary of State just weeks prior. During a news briefing on hurricane relief in Marianna, DeSantis addressed the situation.
It’s unfortunate. I think he’s done a lot of good work. I don’t want to get mired into kind of side controversies, and so I felt it was best to just accept the resignation and move on.
On Thursday morning Ertel gave a presentation on election litigation to a House subcommittee, but by 2:00 p.m. he was handing in his resignation that read, “I am submitting my resignation as Florida secretary of state effective immediately. It has been an honor to serve you and the voters of Florida.”
The pictures raise concern since they were taken just eight months after Ertel was appointed as Seminole County Supervisor of Elections and just two months after Hurricane Katrina.
In 2005, Governor Jeb Bush appointed Ertel to his position as Seminole County Supervisor of Elections after Dennis Joyner stepped down due to health issues. In 2006 Ertel ran against Democratic Party activist Marian Williams and won with 59% of the vote.
Adding insult to injury with the release of these photos, Ertel was presented the Martin Luther King Jr award by the city of Longwood for registering voters. In 2012 he publicly called out Governor Rick Scott after a purge of alleged non-citizen voters. Elter claimed that many of those that were purged were, in fact, legal citizens and eligible voters.