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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

No lines at Pinellas polls, at all



UPDATE: 5 p.m.

As of 4 p.m., just over 16 percent of Pinellas' 623, 189 voters had cast ballots in today's election.
The figure includes absentee and early votes as well as those cast at the polls today.

The modest turnout is consistent with other times voters have considered the Penny for Pinellas sales tax, which is the sole countywide issue on the ballot.

When voters approved the Penny in 1989, turnout was 29 percent. When it was approved in 1987, it was 23 percent.

Voters are reporting a smattering of problems at some precincts with the county's touch screen voting machines.

As has happened in prior elections, touch screens in a few instances have not recorded the voter's intent properly or recorded no vote at all.

"It's just like any touch screen that you use for a game or any other type of application," said county Supervisor of Elections spokesperson Nancy Whitlock. "From time to time it has to be calibrated to make sure that where you're touching on the screen is where you want to be touching."

In such cases, Whitlock said voters are invited to use another machine while the problem is fixed and the faulty unit put back in service.

Gov. Charlie Crist hopes to rid the state of touch screens and replace them with optical scanning machines that read paper ballots.

One voter reported that when he went to cast a ballot at a St. Petersburg precinct before 1 p.m., at least two poll workers to whom he was supposed to furnish ID appeared to be dozing, or at least resting their eyes.

When stirred, the voter said the poll workers were pleasant and eager to help.

UPDATE: 3:25 p.m.

Turnout at Pinellas polls is at least 13 percent as of 2 p.m. today.

That's the combined total of the 10 percent turnout at the polls by that hour and the 3.4 percent of Pinellas voters who had already cast ballots via early voting or absentee before Election Day, said Nancy Whitlock of the election supervisor's office.

-- By Will Van Sant, Times Staff Writer


The Pinellas County polls are open and empty.

At 10 a.m. today, polls reported less than 4 percent turnout, said Nancy Whitlock, spokeswoman for the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections. And a visit to county hall in Clearwater about 9:30 a.m. showed the polling place there vacate of voters.

The last two elections deciding the fate of the Penny for Pinellas sales tax brought 23 percent of voters to polls in 1997 and almost 29 percent in 1989.

Whitlock said she expects similar numbers this year and hopes the after-work crowd boosts the numbers.

Today’s voters have more to decide than in prior years when the Penny was voted on. There are elections in 15 cities.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today.

-- By Tamara El-Khoury, Times Staff Writer

Read today's overview of elections in Pinellas County.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 1:35pm]


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