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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Voting off to a smooth start, Browning says



Secretary of State Kurt Browning, Florida's top elections official, reports a smooth start to Election Day voting. The only known glitch so far, Browning told reporters at a mid-morning briefing, was at a Palm Beach County precinct, where a clerk closed electronic voting equipment rather than opening it. New machines had to be brought in, delaying the start of voting by 75 minutes.

"Poll worker error," Browning said. Kathy Adams, a spokesman for Palm Beach County's election office, said the Delray Beach precinct opened at 8:15, and the worker who threw the wrong switch was fired.

Browning reports lots of calls on the state Voter Assistance hot line, which he said was a good sign. "We're planning for a good day," the former Pasco County elections supervisor said. "We know of no reasons why we're going to have any issues to deal with." He sent an "urgent alert" to all 67 election supervisors last week asking that he be told of any problems, and he dispatched two staff members along central Florida's I-4 corridor to deal with any possible problems.

What Browning and elections officials fear most is a razor-close finish in a race. State law requires a machine recount if two candidates are separated by less than one-half of one percent, and a manual review of undervotes and overvotes if the results are less than one-quarter of one percent.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 2:20pm]


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