Election glitches in Florida – again

TBy Ashley Roque
FSView & Florida Flambeau
Florida State University)

tALLAHASSEE, Fla. (U-WIRE) – Florida’s first major statewide election since the 2000 election catastrophe has left voters and politicians frustrated with no clear winner to claim the Democratic spot for governor on the November ballot. Wednesday evening, 6,692 of 6,717 precincts had reported results – leaving Daryl L. Jones with 11.6 percent, Bill McBride with 44.7 percent and Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno with 44.8 percent of the vote.

After touch-screen voting systems chewed up ballots, delayed polls and turned away hundreds of potential voters, Gov. Jeb Bush issued executive order 02-248 that extended polling hours on Tuesday from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m.

“…Under this unique combination of circumstances, there is a possibility that certain residents of our state could be deprived of a meaningful opportunity to vote and that certain election officials will be unable to conduct an orderly election,” Bush said.

“The secretary of state has requested that I order that polling places throughout the state remain open an additional two hours beyond regularly-scheduled closing times.”

Fourteen of Florida’s 67 counties reported problems, six of which were sued after the 2000 presidential election fiasco. The majority of election complaints stemmed from Reno’s home turf, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Some reports cited that poll locations refused to adhere to Bush’s two hour voting extension.

“This is ridiculous,” Karl Williams said in the St. Petersburg Times. Williams voted in Miami’s Liberty City section. “They should have kept the old system. They’re trying to play the games again. They’re going to stop people from wanting to vote for anybody.”

With counting still in progress Wednesday, Reno talked with advisers about demanding a recount or filing suit.

Although Leon County did not use touch-screen voting this election, the county’s election process was not without its problems.

“We certainly understood and could foresee the problems with the touch-screen voting,” Leon County’s Assistant Supervisor of Elections Janet Loin said. “We (Leon County) had precincts not open on time and confusion over voting due to redistricting.”

With all the chaos, many voters are questioning what has been done with the $32 million allocated for improving the election system.

“It’s craziness,” Florida State University junior Hollie Gregory said. “Florida really should have gotten its act together before this election.”