Friday, February 23, 2018
News Roundup

Pinellas County finishes counting 9,500 last-minute absentee ballots

LARGO — About 9,500 absentee ballots uncounted the morning after Election Day were officially tallied Wednesday, but the final results won't change any elections.

Dozens of workers began counting the ballots at 9 a.m. Wednesday inside the elections office at 13001 Starkey Road. By 3 p.m., all ballots were processed, said office spokeswoman Nancy Whitlock.

The deadline to turn in the absentee ballots was 7 p.m. Tuesday. Because so many people turned in ballots late on Election Day, the processing spilled into Wednesday, Whitlock said.

"It's just the volume," Whitlock said. "They (the canvassing board) just decided there wasn't enough time to get everything done."

Whitlock said 14 drop-off locations were opened throughout the county to collect absentee ballots "to make it as convenient as possible.

Voter turnout was 73.5 percent in Pinellas County, according to unofficial results. That was slightly more than 2008, when turnout was 72.8 percent, but not as high as 2004 when turnout was 77.4 percent.

The canvassing board, made up of County Judge Patrick Caddell and county commissioners Norm Roche and Karen Seel, was at the elections office Wednesday morning in case any problems arose.

Provisional and overseas ballots were still pending, Whitlock said Wednesday.

Nine of Florida's 67 counties were still counting absentee ballots Wednesday, said Chris Cate, spokesman for the Florida Department of State.

Counties have until 5 p.m. Saturday to submit unofficial final numbers to the state.

Times editor Aaron Sharockman contributed to this report.

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