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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

'Lost' Palm Beach votes spur confusion



An election meltdown in Palm Beach County is stoking concerns of even bigger problems in November's presidential vote. The state Election Canvassing Commission Friday certified the results of the Aug. 26 primary, but controversy persists. The four-member panel refused to certify a tight judicial contest in Palm Beach County between Judge Richard Wennet and challenger William Abramson, who trails by 60 votes out of more than 102,000 cast.

Secretary of State Kurt Browning, who heads the four-member commission, is just back from Palm Beach where he spent two days trying to help the county elections office untangle an embarrassment involving what he says are nearly 3,500 "unaccounted for" ballots. Browning said an "irregular" vote tally in Palm Beach County prevents the canvassing commission from certifying the result in the Wennet-Abramson race. A lawsuit is expected Monday by an attorney for Abramson, challenging the decision (Abramson hired attorney Mark Herron who said he'll likely file suit Monday).

Meanwhile, the Palm Beach Post reports that county officials are now reviewing voter registration logs in an effort to get a more accurate number on exactly how many people voted.

Asked if this latest Palm Beach fiasco should diminish voter confidence in the new optical-scan system he championed, Gov. Charlie Crist said: "I hope not. I hope not. It shouldn't. It shouldn't."

To further complicate matters, Supervisor of Elections Arthur Anderson lost a re-election bid in the Democratic primary to Rep. Susan Bucher in a race in which Bucher repeatedly question Anderson's ability to manage elections. "He's demoralized," Browning said of Anderson.


[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:13am]


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