90.7 WMFE and 89.5 WMFV are Central Florida's primary provider of NPR programming and Classical Music. Part of the community since 1965, providing quality national and local news and programming. We inspire and empower all Central Floridians to discover, grow and engage within and beyond their world.
Support for 90.7 WMFE is provided by

Orange County Elections Supervisor Talks About The Primary Day Ballot Shortages

Play Audio

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.

Get The 90.7 WMFE Newsletter

Your trusted news source for the latest Central Florida news, updates on special programs and more.

Stay tuned in to our local news coverage: Listen to 90.7 WMFE on your FM or HD radio, the WMFE mobile app or your smart speaker — say “Alexa, play NPR” and you’ll be connected.

WMFE Journalistic Ethics Code | Public Media Code of Integrity

About Crystal Chavez

Crystal Chavez