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State Denies Orange County Request To Keep Polls Open Late


Florida’s elections chief is expecting an historic turnout for Florida’s presidential primary. Based on the 2.1 million ballots already cast by mail or in early voting, Secretary of State Ken Detzner said turnout should exceed the 42 percent level reached in 2008.

“I received some calls this morning from supervisors in Hillsborough County within the first 10 minutes of the polls opening, they had 3,000 votes cast,” said Detzner. “So, I’m getting reports from supervisors, very, very heavy, intense voting early this morning.”

Detzner insists that GOP front runner Donald Trump was not left off any ballot. Voters in Jupiter complained that Trump was not on the ballot. But the supervisor of elections for Palm Beach County said the complaints came from unaffiliated voters who received municipal ballots, which had none of the presidential candidates on the ballot. Florida's presidential primary is closed to only registered democrats or republicans.

A glitch in Jacksonville’s Duval County forced poll workers to switch from an electronic voter registry to a paper one, said Detzner. That’s a standard backup.

No voters were effected. Polls close at 7 p.m. and Detzner said anyone standing in line at that time will be allowed to vote.

Orange Co. Experiences Glitches, Brevard Co. Staying Busy

Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles said he was in touch with state elections officials all day, and they decided that accommodations had been made without the need to extend voting another hour.  Cowles had asked for more time because not enough ballots were printed for voters in polling place along six cities.

Those were in: Apopka, Belle Isle, Maitland, Ocoee, Windermere and Winter Park.

Cowles said nearly 50 precincts were affected, and the glitch affects both parties.

Here's a statement Cowles released Tuesday evening:

“The Secretary and Supervisor have been in regular communication throughout the day.  They have revisited the Supervisor’s request to extend hours and reviewed the corrective steps that have been taken, the timeframe in which the issues were resolved and the multiple options voters were given to cast their vote today. 

After thorough consideration, at this time we are in agreement that voters in the six municipal elections have been accommodated and will have sufficient time to get to the polls without having to extend the polling hours. "

There were also problems with getting voter registration books to work.

“But in most precincts, either one was up and two down, or two up and one down, but as long as one was up, we could check voters in,” Cowles said. “And each polling place was delivered this morning before they opened a printed list of all the voters who are assigned to that precinct.”

In a few precincts where there are also city elections, said Cowles, there were mix-ups with particular ballots.  As Cowles explains it, sometimes a city election along with the presidential primary pick can complicate things.

“You’ve got to have a Democratic ballot with the city candidates, a Republican ballot with the city candidates, and then you have to have a ballot with just city candidates only, for those who are not Democrat or not Republican,” Cowles said. “And so on some of these ballot orders, the numbers got transposed, so they had fewer of one style and more of another.”

He said his office printed and delivered the correct ballots to the precincts that were caught up short. And no one should’ve been prevented from voting by the issues, and they were fixed by lunchtime.

Apopka, Ocoee, Maitland, and Winter Park are among the Orange County cities holding local elections.

The polls are busy in Brevard County, where Supervisor of Elections Lori Scott said Brevard County is on track to have record turnout. “I think we’ll probably be around the 50 percent turnout, which is for just having a PPP on the ballot no amendment, no special elections, no municipal election, that really is going to be a record turnout for a PPP over the last 16 years,” she said.

Nearly a quarter of voters cast an early ballot before today, said Scott. Wireless voting equipment bought in 2013 will speed up the tabulation of results, she said.

According to the Brevard County Elections website, more than half of registered Republicans voted in the county by 4 p.m.

Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties said they had no reports of any problems with voting today.

What Drove Voters To The Polls
Voters across central Florida are casting their ballots in today’s presidential primary. Oviedo resident Ed Mellor said he’s glad he skipped early voting. “Because the field of candidates is much less now, and the one that has the better chance of being nominated,” said Mellor.

There was a steady trickle of voters this morning at the Oviedo Aquatic Center. Zach Tennant was one of them. “It’s our civic duty. It’s a responsibility to try and pick representatives that will do for our country what we think is best,” said Tennant. “So it’s our responsibility to cast our vote and make our voices heard.”

Jennifer Wright works for a software company in Orlando, she said women’s rights are the biggest issue for her this election. “The fact that we have a rapidly aging Supreme Court,” said Wright, “and the possibility for a president the next eight years to make a decision about the people who would otherwise affect big decisions about reproductive rights and things like that is a big issue for me.”

At a polling place in Dr. Phillips, Josh Reardon is campaigning for Bernie Sanders. Holding a sign on a street corner, he said he sees how divisive this election is. “I told myself I’m going to see two different types of fingers – a lot of thumbs and a lot of middle fingers. I’m seeing a good mixture of both,” said Reardon.

Christina Powers-Borges is a voter in Dr Phillips, and realizes how important her vote is today. “Because it’s so critical who we vote for. In these times that we have now it’s very important we get out there,” said Powers-Borges. “I’m encouraging everyone to vote and get the message out.”

Winter Park resident Nancy English made a quick stop to her polling location and was disappointed to see a small turnout. “People are frankly just ticked off about what they’re hearing and aren’t even watching the debates at this point,” said English, “and are just done with it, but you can’t be that way. This is a super important time.”