Palm Beach Ballots Down for the Count
By Mary Pat Flaherty
They're counting again in Palm Beach County. And by later Tuesday, elections officials might be able to say who won a month-old judicial race -- or maybe not.
For the fourth time since the Aug. 26 primary, elections officials are trying to account for all of the ballots cast in a razor-thin judicial race and assure local voters that they are ready for November. Palm Beach switched to optical scan voting equipment -- in which paper ballots are read and tallied by machine -- as part of a statewide change. Sequoia Voting Systems, which provides the county's machines, has said its equipment functioned correctly, as both machine and hand recounts of ballots continue to yield different results.
About 3,500 ballots went unaccounted for between election nght and a week later when officials ran results again to determine a winner in the judge's contest. When the county totals in that review came up short, the discrepancy caused state officials to refuse to certify a winner in the judicial race.
Both another machine count and a hand count in the past several weeks resulted in still differing results but narrowed the discrepancy to 159 ballots over the weekend. The problem: Those 159 ballots were more than had been accounted for in earlier rounds. Whether the extra ballots were overlooked through human error or not read by machine counters previously is not known, but another machine count was underway late Tuesday morning with a press conference set to update the findings this afternoon.
Web Politics Editor
September 23, 2008; 3:16 PM ET
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