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Sarasota Thursday, Aug. 19, 2010 7 years ago

Early-voting machine malfunctions

by: Robin Roy City Editor

The machine counting early-voting ballots at the Supervisor of Elections Office has malfunctioned.

As of Aug. 19, 2,045 votes were cast on the machine but Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent said there should be no fear of those votes being discounted.

“No votes were lost,” she said.

One of the inspectors noticed this week that the system count on the machine was different than the number of ballots that had been inputted.

The voting machine in question is still being used, while the company that owns the machines, Dominion Voting, tries to determine what the problem is.

Dent said she may receive an answer Friday.

She said the worst-case scenario is that the paper ballots that had been counted in the malfunctioning machine are put into a different machine to be counted.

Dent has not notified any candidate or party leader yet about the issue.

“I’m not looking at it as a major thing,” she said.

But Joe Gruters, chairman of the Republican Party of Sarasota County, said he is concerned.

“This proves the need to have paper ballots, so there’s concrete evidence, so no one could question the outcome,” he said. “Two thousand votes could decide a race.”

Rita Ferrandino, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Sarasota County, said issues such as this are why she has election observers watching every step of the process.

“I won’t say I’m not worried,” she said. “But we have a system in place. I’m just looking forward to an explanation on what happened and why it won’t happen again.”

Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].

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