Tags: Glitches | But | Major | Breakdowns | Far

Glitches, But No Major Breakdowns So Far

Tuesday, 05 November 2002 12:00 AM

Florida was being watched closely by federal, state, local and even international agencies in case of a repeat of the problems that made the state a laughingstock after the 2000 presidential election and the Sept. 10 primary election.

Increased manpower and accelerated training apparently helped eliminate some of the problems that plagued the south Florida counties of Miami-Dade and Broward during the primaries.

Gov. Jeb Bush, the president's brother who was running for re-election against Democratic attorney Bill McBride, said he was pleased with the way things were going.

"The mayor of Miami-Dade County and the supervisor of elections in Broward County have assured the secretary of state they are on the right track, that they have expanded the number of poll workers and they have a lot of people now to make sure this election goes smoothly," Bush said.

Miami-Dade County assistant supervisor of elections Giselas Salas said: "It's been going very well. All of the precincts were open on time at 7 a.m. and all the voters have been voting."

She said a 60 percent turnout was expected and 20 percent of that figure had already cast their ballots in early voting and absentee voting.

"We're very, very happy with the success of early voting. We've had over 107,000 ballots cast before Nov. 5," County Manager Steve Shiver said.

In Broward County, 40,000 people voted early and things were going well on Election Day.

"The lines have been consistent since 7 a.m. We expected a peak about 10 a.m. but we didn't get that," said Roger Desiairlais, Broward County administrator.

In Jacksonville, Fla., the Vote-A-Matic machine at one precinct wouldn't scan ballots. It was the same precinct where voting started 90 minutes late in September because poll workers had failed to turn the machine on.

This time, the ballots were saved in a locked emergency depository for later scanning and a new machine was quickly delivered to the polling place. All poll workers who were at this precinct during the September primary were fired and replaced.

Voters at another Jacksonville precinct were initially supplied with the wrong type of black marking pens. The marks went through the two-sided ballot, rendering it unreadable by the machine. New ballots and the correct pens solved this problem.

In one Osceola County precinct near Walt Disney World, the U.S. House District 15 race was left off the ballot due to a printing error. This caused all ballots to be rejected by the scanning machine because it was programmed to expect votes in the race.

The ballots were saved for manual counting by the canvassing board. Voters who had cast their votes before noon at the precinct were being asked to return before the polls close to vote in the congressional race.

In Orange County, Republican Party officials have been inspecting the envelopes of absentee ballots set aside for canvassing board review because of voters' failure to complete them properly with addresses, signatures, or witness signatures.

They have been contacting affected registered Republicans and advising them to visit the elections office in Orlando to correct the problems. Democrats have not done the same.

Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles said it is the voter's responsibility to follow the instructions completely so their votes will count and it was not the responsibility of his office to advise them of these procedural errors.

He said since the records are public, either party could check the envelopes, but the Democrats had not asked to do so. Orange County Democratic Party spokesman Doug Head said supervisors in other counties did not allow voters to correct such errors, although he thinks it should be permitted.

In Palm Beach County, Fla., a glitch in three of the five voting machines at Haverhill Town Hall meant that some voters didn't cast a ballot on Amendment 1. Barbara Thompson, the poll station's clerk, said the screens displayed Amendment 2 in Amendment 1's position.

Elsewhere in the country, voters in Knox County, Tenn., had to wait for hours at one precinct because no ballots had been delivered. Some people were told they might as well leave, because they would not be able to vote Tuesday.

In Cherry Hill, N.J., voting machines malfunctioned in more than 30 of the township's 46 voting districts. Some voters had to use paper ballots while repairs were made.

Rep. Julia Carson, D-Ind., who is in a close race for a fourth term, came to the polls early to vote for herself, but her machine broke down when she pulled the lever. She was moved to another machine.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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Florida was being watched closely by federal, state, local and even international agencies in case of a repeat of the problems that made the state a laughingstock after the 2000 presidential election and the Sept. 10 primary election. Increased manpower and accelerated...
Tuesday, 05 November 2002 12:00 AM
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