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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Secretary of State: Florida election had 'few minor issues' that were 'resolved quickly'

Secretary of State Ken Detzner speaks to reporters in Tallahassee, during a press conference on Tuesday evening, about a half-hour after the last polls closed in Florida's presidential primary election.

Kristen M. Clark / Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

Secretary of State Ken Detzner speaks to reporters in Tallahassee, during a press conference on Tuesday evening, about a half-hour after the last polls closed in Florida's presidential primary election.

15

March

Florida's top elections official said the state's presidential primary election on Tuesday had a "few minor issues" but "those issues were resolved quickly and voters were not impacted."

"Overall, I think we had a very successful election," Secretary of State Ken Detzner told reporters in Tallahassee about a half-hour after the last polls closed in Florida.

Elections supervisors in Palm Beach, Orange and Duval counties reported some issues during the day, due to technical problems or voter confusion, Detzner said.

For instance, in Palm Beach County, Detzner said "some blogs" fueled unfounded rumors that GOP front-runner Donald Trump wasn't on the ballot.

State officials and Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher "investigated that, looked into it, and that was incorrect," Detzner said.

Detzner said some voters were "confused" about Florida's closed-primary system, which prohibits voters registered as "no-party affiliation" from voting in party primaries.

"They may have expected they could vote, but the fact is Florida law does not permit them to vote," Detzner said.

In Orange County, Detzner said "a few municipalities" didn't have enough ballots because of a printing error.

Detzner said county Elections Supervisor Bill Cowles used a "ballot-on-demand machine to print the ballots and deliver them to polling places."

He praised Cowles for a "very rapid response in solving that problem."

Detzner couldn't estimate how many Orange County voters were affected. He said Cowles didn't request to extend voting hours for the affected precincts.

"He did feel comfortable that he presented real-time options to voters," Detzner said.

In Jacksonville's Duval County, an early-morning glitch saw electronic poll books not working temporarily. Poll workers had to use the paper registers that were the norm for generations and which remain "the standard backup method," he said. "No voters were impacted."

Detzner said this evening he couldn't predict turnout until all official results are in, but he believes the state might have set a new record.

"We're expecting the turnout will surpass the 2012 presidential preference primary in total turnout," Detzner said.

He added that he also expected the number of absentee and early-voting ballots to surpass those cast in person at the polls on Tuesday. When polls opened in 5,810 polling places across the state at 7 a.m., more than 2.1 million people had already voted.

"People like the choices they have in voting," he said. "They like absentee and mail-in voting."

Times/Herald reporter Steve Bousquet contributed to this report.

[Last modified: Tuesday, March 15, 2016 9:30pm]

    

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