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The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

A bogus 'irregularity' cited by McCain camp

4

November

UPDATE 6:34 p.m.: The campaign, without admitting a clear error, sent out an "updated" release that no longer includes the false charge.

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The McCain campaign is spreading misinformation about voting irregularities in Florida.

At issue: A campaign news release with an all-caps headline, "ELECTION DAY IRREGULARITIES IN BATTLEGROUND STATES." It cites a CNN blog that says ballots are being rejected because people are not filling out a page with constitutional amendments. That is true.

But the campaign omitted the amendment part and added this line to the blog summary: "In Palm Beach County, FL, Many Voters Are Reporting Trouble Locating The McCain-Palin Ticket On The Ballot Because It Appears On The Second Page."

Palmballot_2 "It's absolutely erroneous," Palm Beach elections official Robert Weiner told the Buzz. "McCain-Palin is No. 1 on the first page."

<-- This is the first page of the ballot. Click to enlarge.

We have asked the campaign for an explanation, but so far have only gotten the new e-mail.

Here is a comparison of what campaign sent out and the CNN blog.

Campaign email:

In Palm Beach County, FL, Many Voters Are Reporting Trouble Locating The McCain-Palin Ticket On The Ballot Because It Appears On The Second Page. " Florida's Palm Beach County is reporting problems at a couple of polling stations: so-called undervotes,' where machines reject ballots because voters are not filling out the second page of the ballot, a spokesman for the county Board of Elections confirmed He said in some cases people simply forget to fill out the second page..." (CNN, "Undervotes Reported In Palm Beach County, Florida," CNN Political Ticker Blog , 11/4/08)

CNN blog:

West Palm Beach (CNN) - Florida's Palm Beach County is reporting problems at a couple of polling stations: so-called "undervotes," where machines reject ballots because some voters are not filling out the second page of the ballot, a spokesman for the county Board of Elections confirmed. The page contains proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution.

The spokesman said these undervotes are legal. The scanner spits the ballot back and reminds the voter to vote on the second page, the spokesman said, adding that the voter then has the choice of voting or registering the undervote.

He said in some cases people simply forget to fill out the second page, but most voters seem to be intentionally skipping that part of the ballot.

The town of Palm Beach is also reporting minor sporadic voter machine failures, the spokesman said. A handful of machines had to be replaced.

One polling station in the county opened one hour late because of a problem with their precinct voting list.

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 5:45pm]

    

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