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Orange County Elections Supervisor Talks About The Primary Day Ballot Shortages

Orange County Elections Supervisor Bill Cowles. Photo by Renata Sago.
Orange County Elections Supervisor Bill Cowles. Photo by Renata Sago.

Florida Presidential Primary day is over but questions and controversy about it are not. Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles talked to WMFE about the ballot shortages at some central Florida precincts Tuesday.

The problem on election day centers on Orange County precincts that also had municipal elections. Since Florida is a closed primary state some voters got a Republican ballot, some got a Democratic ballot and some got a non-partisan ballot with only city elections on it. Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles said the quantity of different types of ballots ordered got "transposed" to the printer.

“Where we should have had a low number of non-partisan ballots and a greater number with the party, and it got swapped, and that’s where we started running out of ballots,” said Cowles.

He said the county doesn't have a way of knowing how many potential voters were affected.

"We heard things, people saying as they were leaving somebody told them in the parking lot there were no ballots so they left," said Cowles.

The county printed more ballots but some weren't delivered on time. The election's office gave out a phone number and offered to drive ballots out to voters.

"To my knowledge we did not deliver ballots to any voter. As far as I know, nobody took advantage of the opportunity," said Cowles.

Listen to Cowles' interview with 90.7 Crystal Chavez in the audio player above to hear more about the ballot shortages, what Cowles thinks about the possibility of open primaries in Florida, and what he plans to do to make sure this doesn't happen again.