Senior Florida official quits after blackface images emerge

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Senior Florida official quits after blackface images emerge

Image copyright Florida Department of State
Image caption Michael Ertel served as Florida's secretary of state for only a few weeks

Florida's Secretary of State Michael Ertel has resigned after photos emerged of him in blackface dressed as a victim of Hurricane Katrina.

The images, printed by the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper, were allegedly taken at a Halloween party in 2005.

Mr Ertel – wearing a bandana and a shirt with "Katrina Victim" written on the front – was a local supervisor of elections at the time.

Hurricane Katrina killed nearly 2,000 people, most of them in Louisiana.

The secretary's of state's responsibilities include overseeing elections in Florida and promoting its economic interests around the world.

Mr Ertle was appointed in the role in December by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.

"There's nothing I can say," Mr Ertel said when approached by the Tallahassee Democrat for comment about the photos.

He resigned hours after the paper shared them with the Florida governor's office.

Skip Twitter post by @TDOnline

Over the phone and in person, Ertel would not comment on the record about the circumstances surrounding the photo. https://t.co/quleb5ZMGX

— Tallahassee Democrat (@TDOnline) January 24, 2019

Report

End of Twitter post by @TDOnline

Mr Ertel has deleted his Twitter account and was also not available for comment.

Mr Ertel was Seminole County supervisor of elections for 14 years, winning four elections to the role.

He received numerous awards within Florida for increasing voter registration.

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