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134 votes in florida not counted

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   http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/7655457.htm

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/7655457.htm

Posted on Wed, Jan. 07, 2004
HERALD EXCLUSIVE
Votes from 134 residents were not counted

By ERIKA BOLSTAD
ebolstad@herald.com

Ballots cast by 134 voters in a special election Tuesday weren't counted, apparently because people failed to use touch-screen machines properly.

It's the electronic equivalent of a voter failing to punch a stylus all the way through on a paper ballot, leaving a hanging chad.

Only with electronic voting, there's no way to review the ballot and determine how a person wanted to vote. The vote is not counted, and in this case, the vote of 134 people who left polling places without hitting the ''vote'' button on the machines was not counted.

The Broward Supervisor of Elections office wasn't able for comment Wednesday, when candidates in the race and the county mayor brought the so-called ''undervotes'' to the attention of the public.

Although the number of people who didn't finish casting their ballots is a relatively small percentage, said Broward County Mayor Ilene Lieberman, it seems unlikely that anyone would come out for such a small election with no intention of voting.

Seven candidates were on the ballot in the special election for the District 91 state House Seat left vacant by Connie Mack. Ellyn Bogdanoff won the race by 12 votes, making the 134 votes even more meaningful.

''It's incomprehensible that 134 people went to the polls and didn't cast votes,'' said Lieberman, who served on the canvassing board that oversaw Tuesday night's count.

But the winning candidate, Ellyn Bogdanoff, said she attributes at least some of the undervote to Democrats who reached the polls and realized all the candidates were Republicans.

Oliver Parker, the Lauderdale-by-the-Sea mayor who lost the race, wouldn't comment Wednesday. A spokesman for his campaign said that Parker is weighing his options for tomorrow's recount -- mandated by state law because the race was so close.

But it does seem strange that so many people would go to the polls for a small, special election and then not vote, said Chas Brady, a spokesman for Parker. Especially in an election where only one race was on the ballot, Brady said.

''It's not as though they're on page 5 and are tied of voting,'' he said.




134 votes in florida not counted
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