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FORGOTTEN MEMORY CARD DELAYS RESULTS

Hernando's election results were delayed Tuesday night by a memory mix-up.

The problem was in Precinct 35 at the Timber Pines Lodge in Spring Hill, where poll workers forgot to bring a computer memory card to the Supervisor of Elections Office in Brooksville.

Once polls close at 7 p.m., poll workers are supposed to take the counting device from the ballot-scanning machine and first attempt to upload the results via the phone to the elections office.

Supervisor of Elections Annie Williams tells workers that if after three attempts they cannot get the results to transmit, they are supposed drive their counters, which include the memory cards, and the actual paper ballots to her office.

There were 11 precincts that had to bring their results to the elections office Tuesday night. But when it came time to run the results for Precinct 35, the counter containing the memory card could not be found.

Williams said elections workers searched all of the other precincts' bags before concluding that the counter apparently had not been delivered to the office.

"It was supposed to be handed to someone," she said. "Obviously it wasn't."

The poll workers were called, and it was discovered that the counter, in fact, was safe and secure. It had been left in a sealed bag at the Timber Pines Lodge. At that point, poll workers drove part way to Brooksville and met two members of Williams' staff to hand off the counter.

In the meantime, workers hand-fed 777 ballots cast in Precinct 35 into a scanner at the elections office so the unofficial countywide tally could be completed.

The time: 11:15 p.m.

Fast facts

How they stacked up

Hernando County figured prominently into the statewide electoral picture. Voters here approved Amendment 1 by 71 percent. Only 10 of the state's 67 counties approved the measure by a greater proportion, according to an analysis of election results.In Florida, the most ardent support for the amendment - 82 percent - came from Lee County, on the southwest coast.

Among neighboring counties, Hernando finished in the middle, behind Citrus and Sumter, but ahead of Pasco.

Hernando voters also showed up in droves for Democrat Hillary Clinton, giving her 60.5 percent of the county's vote. The New York senator won a total of 47 Florida counties but only one county, Osceola with 61.3 percent, endorsed Clinton by a greater margin .

An analysis shows 53 percent of the county's registered Republicans and 47 percent of the county's registered Democrats cast ballots.

It's difficult to compare the turnout to past elections, but it's safe to say it exceeded all expectations. It rivalled the 48 percent of voters who cast ballots in the 2006 general election, dominated by a number of statewide and local races.

The last competitive presidential primary for both parties was in 2000. Turnout reached 17 percent but Florida voted March 14, well after a front-runner emerged. (In the 2004 presidential primary, 33 percent of Democrats voted. Republicans didn't have a contest.)

Times staff

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