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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Hernando chief confirms minor voting problems



BROOKSVILLE -- An unknown number of Brooksville voters were given the wrong ballots early this morning, the Hernando elections chief confirmed, citing "poll worker error."

Poll workers gave another voter, and possibly others, a wrong ballot in Spring Hill. It didn't include the controversial referendum question about whether to dissolve the Spring Hill fire district. "Other than the presidential race, that was an important issue to me," said Lawrence Phippard, the voter who received the wrong ballot in Spring Hill. "I had strong feelings about it."

Annie D. Williams, the election's supervisor, said the problems occurred early in the morning and were corrected soon after they were reported. But there's no recourse for the voter -- there's nothing they can do after it's put in the machine.

"As long as you have the human element you are going to have something happen," she said. "It seems to be pretty smooth except for the minor problems."

Brooksville Mayor David Pugh, who is running for re-election, was upset. "It’s disappointing, especially when it’s not that difficult to get it right," Pugh said. "We should have people at the polls educated about what races should be at that location."

One of Pugh's two opponents, Cecil Davis, said he was prepared to formally protest the race if the result was within a handful of votes. "My understanding is that what's done is done and there's no way of fixing it," Davis said. "I'm not going to raise Cain about it unless it comes down to four or five votes. I'm a little disappointed because I voted for Annie." 

John Frank and Joel Anderson, Times staff writers

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:39am]


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