Newly-appointed Florida Secretary of State Michael Ertel has resigned after photos of him at a 2005 Halloween party dressed as a Hurricane Katrina victim — in blackface — emerged, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
Ertel was just appointed earlier this month by the newly-elected Governor Ron DeSantis, who narrowly defeated Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.
The newspaper obtained the photos and showed them to the governor’s office Thursday morning. By 2 pm Eastern time, DeSantis had accepted Ertel’s resignation.
Ertel declined comment, according to the Democrat.
Ertel had been involved in Florida’s effort to implement Amendment 4, which restored voting rights to about 1.4 million ex-felons. Ertel has said he instructed county clerks to accept applications from all ex-felons, even though the legislature has not yet passed enabling legislation.
The Democrat reports that Ertel has a long record of expanding voting rights and registering people to vote. In fact he was honored by the City of Longwood with a Martin Luther King Jr. award for registering voters. In 2012, Ertel spoke out against former Governor Rick Scott’s purge of voter rolls, saying many of those who were purged were actually eligible voters.