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Protesters Say Orange County Ballot Glitch Was Voter Disenfranchisement

Photo: Renata Sago.
Photo: Renata Sago.

A nonpartisan group wants an investigation into the paper ballot shortage that delayed some voting in Orange County yesterday. Members of Count the 52 rallied outside the county elections office, shouting "Always have enough ballots! Count the 52!" The group alleges voters in 52 precincts were disenfranchised.

“How in 2016 do we run out of ballots? You know, we thought Florida was over this issue with problems voting," said protester Maria Bolton-Joubert.

Polling stations ran out of paper ballots for voters in local primary elections.

Orange County election supervisor Bill Cowles regrets the ballot glitch but says it was corrected five hours before polls closed.

Bolton-Joubert and other protesters are calling on statewide voting reforms which include making sure that p0lling stations have enough paper ballots.

She is also urging officials to consider opening Florida's primary so that everyone can vote in it.

“Too many people came to me and said, ‘Maria, I didn’t know. I wanted to change my party affiliation—be it republican, be it democrat. I didn’t know.’ And that’s sad.”

Orange County elections head Bill Cowles supports an open primary and blames the paper ballot shortage on a printing error.