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60,000 absentee ballots missing in Florida county

Old 10-27-04, 05:09 PM
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60,000 absentee ballots missing in Florida county

www.drudgereport.com

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/loc...home-headlines


The county officials blame the post office. The post office says it's not their fault. The county is a democrat county, so it may really hurt kerry.

Long lines, busy signals fuel voting frustration in Broward
The Waverly
By Jean-Paul Renaud
Staff Writer

October 27, 2004, 3:07 PM EDT

The Broward County Supervisor of Elections Office pointed a finger at the U.S. Postal Service on Tuesday for nearly 60,000 missing absentee ballots, but took the blame for having a phone system that was being overwhelmed by calls from frustrated voters.

While the post office denied responsibility for the missing ballots, Broward County commissioners, anxious to avoid another failed election, offered to send county employees to help with the phones. Dozens of employees could begin assisting the elections office today to answer telephone calls and to process voters at the 14 early voting sites.

"What we are seeing is unprecedented, so if the supervisor of elections needs our help, we will help," County Mayor Ilene Lieberman said. "It's a week to the election, and voting is a basic right in our country."

Just six days away from the general election, the Supervisor of Elections Office has fielded hundreds of complaints from people that have yet to receive their absentee ballot. Countless more have been unable to get through to election officials to complain or get their questions answered.

"I tried for the last week or so to call the elections office and it's just busy continually," said Paula Zubatkin, 70, whose four-week-old request for an absentee ballot has gone unanswered. "I want to vote."

Election officials also said they launched an investigation and found that many of the missing ballots -- 58,000 of them -- were sent on Oct. 7 and Oct 8. The problem, they say, lies with the post office.

"That is something beyond our control," Deputy Supervisor of Elections Gisela Salas said. "We really have no idea what's going on. It's just taken an extraordinary amount of time. I would really encourage people to use early voting."

Post office officials say they are not at fault.

"We have employees that we assign to handle the absentee ballots that come in," said Enola C. Rice, spokeswoman for the Postal Service's South Florida District. "So all the absentee ballots that are received by the Postal Service are processed and delivered immediately."

She said most local mail is delivered in one day.

Some, like 68-year-old Myrna Davis, depended on her absentee ballot to vote. The Sunrise resident's husband has an artificial hip. After they waited weeks for an absentee ballot, they decided to go to an early voting site. But after a three-hour wait in line, they gave up.

"The heat was too great," Davis said. "Although there was air conditioning, there were so many people there, I couldn't tolerate it."

Local college students attending Florida State University in Tallahassee are frustrated because they have yet to receive absentee ballots and are unable to reach officials in Broward County. They have been calling Leon County's supervisor of elections, where the university is, to ask for help.

"Students have told us that they can't communicate with Broward County right now," said Ion Sancho, Leon County's supervisor of elections. "The only way that they can ask for an absentee ballot is electronically to Broward County: E-mail, fax or Web services."

Those living out of town can call Broward election officials and request another ballot, which officials said will be sent through overnight mail.

As of Tuesday, 126,220 absentee ballots have been requested from Broward County elections officials and 67,249 people have voted early, Salas said.

Broward election officials say they are overwhelmed. Their phone lines were never equipped to handle the volume of calls they have experienced, they say, and they blame their limitations on the confined spaces within the county administration building.

"It's a real, real problem," Salas said.

County officials say the elections office, which oversees more than 1 million voters, has 158 available lines. But throughout the day, voters who call the office are greeted by busy signals or filled voicemails.

"They're inundated, they're inundated," Salas said. "My phone mail is constantly full. I clear my voice mails twice a day and I have 30 each time."

In comparison, the Miami-Dade elections office, which manages slightly fewer registered voters, has 400 available lines, according to Seth Kaplan of Miami-Dade elections.

The possibility of adding more phone lines or staff before Nov. 2, election officials say, looks dim. Salas said there would be about 6,000 poll workers on Election Day. Miami-Dade will have 7,000, Kaplan said.

"I don't know that we could get any more people and more resources," Salas said. "At this point in time, training is coming to a close. Clerks are picking up their supplies on Friday. Everything is wrapping up by now."

At the Southwest Regional Library in Pembroke Pines, crowds swelled to the point where library officials asked for relief.

"The crowds had jammed the space," said Bob Cannon, director of Broward County's library system. "It's a mob scene. We asked the supervisor of elections to look at the problem. They rearranged the lines."

Pete Corwin, assistant to County Administrator Roger Desjarlais, said the problem at the early voting locations was not caused by a lack of voting machines, but rather a lack of laptop computers and poll workers to process the voters.

At Howard Forman Health Park in Pembroke Pines, the wait was about 2 1/2 hours by the afternoon.

Arlene Ruotolo, of Cooper City, said she requested an absentee ballot but never received it.

"I was not expecting such long lines," she said. "I went to the Hollywood courthouse this morning, and the line was even longer. I left because they were all standing in the sun."

Lori Sykes and Scott Wyman contributed to this report.

Last edited by al_bundy; 10-27-04 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 10-27-04, 05:11 PM
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Judging simply on voting procedure competence, Florida doesn't deserve anything close to 27 EVs.

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Old 10-27-04, 05:25 PM
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To black neighborhoods no doubt?
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Old 10-27-04, 05:33 PM
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Is there any explanation for losing 60,000 ballots except blatant election fraud? Is there any other logical way this could happen? Especially given that the county is voting strongly in one direction?

- David Stein
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Old 10-27-04, 05:35 PM
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"Students have told us that they can't communicate with Broward County right now," said Ion Sancho, Leon County's supervisor of elections. "The only way that they can ask for an absentee ballot is electronically to Broward County: E-mail, fax or Web services."


and we all know college students have no access to computers.
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Old 10-27-04, 05:42 PM
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Can't these people still vote on election day?

And I need more poodle there are really 60k ballots missing.. If memo the democrats put out are correct, it's going to require more than their word before people should start believing in voter fraud.
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Old 10-27-04, 06:21 PM
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Thor- yeap its a dem stong hold

Zod they can go in and vote from today until Nov 1 but not on the 2nd.
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Old 10-27-04, 06:29 PM
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Where in Florida is Broward County?

Very strange story. I can't imagine anything that hectic for just absentee voting.
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Old 10-27-04, 06:39 PM
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FT. Lauderdale is in Broward, not sure how far Broward goes in any direction though.
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Old 10-27-04, 06:57 PM
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Originally posted by OldDude
FT. Lauderdale is in Broward, not sure how far Broward goes in any direction though.
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Old 10-27-04, 07:01 PM
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I don't know, but 9 out of 10 episodes of COPS is filmed there.
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Old 10-27-04, 07:06 PM
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Old 10-27-04, 07:14 PM
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Doesn't really matter whether you E-Vote or try the paper version, i.e. the absentee ballot, Florida's election system is a joke. There needs to be some sort of non-partisan commission running the election process in this state.
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Old 10-27-04, 07:29 PM
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Originally posted by sfsdfd
Is there any explanation for losing 60,000 ballots except blatant election fraud? Is there any other logical way this could happen?
I'm not sure, but if that's the case... should I be worried about sock and sweater fraud that I experienced a couple years ago when a package never arrived?
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Old 10-27-04, 07:44 PM
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I need more doberman that this is legit as well.
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Old 10-27-04, 07:44 PM
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Originally posted by VinVega
Doesn't really matter whether you E-Vote or try the paper version, i.e. the absentee ballot, Florida's election system is a joke. There needs to be some sort of non-partisan commission running the election process in this state.
Actually Broward is pretty much run by Democrats. You'd think they'd do a better job of collecting Democratic votes. Counties and towns have a lot of latitude in running the election. You really need to look at who the local leaders are.
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Old 10-27-04, 07:45 PM
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Holy shit! They must have lost an extra 10,000 just today!

This morning it was only 50,000 ballots!

Like Lando said, this deal is getting worse by the minute...
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Old 10-27-04, 09:29 PM
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The way I read this when I saw it this morning was that of the 60,000 ballots sent, some are being reported missing. No one was saying all 60,000 were lost.

Here's the article. I guess the Postal Inspectors are on the case.
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...ign_florida_dc
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Old 10-27-04, 09:32 PM
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Originally posted by SunMonkey
The way I read this when I saw it this morning was that of the 60,000 ballots sent, some are being reported missing. No one was saying all 60,000 were lost.

Here's the article. I guess the Postal Inspectors are on the case.
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...ign_florida_dc
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Old 10-27-04, 09:35 PM
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The Postal Inspectors seem a trifle dubious:
U.S. Postal Service Inspector Del Alvarez, whose federal agency is independent from the U.S. Postal Service, said it had yet to be determined if the ballots reached the post office.


"It's highly unlikely that 58,000 pieces of mail just disappeared," he said. "We're looking for it, we're trying to find it if in fact it was ever delivered to the postal service."
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Old 10-27-04, 09:38 PM
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Originally posted by Birrman54
Yeah, I guess they are an independent federal agency not connected to USPS. At least I learned something new through this story.
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Old 10-27-04, 11:06 PM
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Actually the thing that amazes me...actually, no...<i>scares me</i>, given the influence your President holds over the rest of the world...is the fact that the ballots often destroyed straight after counting (if rumours are correct, some even BEFORE they are counted). In 2000 there were reports of ballots deliberately being destroyed in some counties almost immediately after counting finished - thus negating any chance of a recount from either side.

Surely ALL ballots should be kept under lock and key for at least until all of the potential recounts are finished.
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Old 10-28-04, 04:01 AM
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I was caught unawares of this thread, as I believe Al Bundy pointed out in my now closed thread.

As I said there...there's just something odd about this. Honestly, we're just south of last elections "butterfly ballot" fiasco, and I just can't fathom such scandalous crap happening two elections in a row.

This almost comes across as a desperate attempt to keep the spotlight on good ole Florida. Both candidates were here days ago (and the "heavy hitters" are still here) pleading for our votes. Now we hear on the news things like "could Ohio be the state that decides it this year", or "could it come down to little places like Hawaii to make the final decision", or worst of all "is (state name here) this elections new Florida"?

It's official, this state is an attention whore.
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Old 10-28-04, 05:13 AM
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I would expect even more political mischief from both Dems and Reps, probably even weeks after Nov. 2. It seems like public opionion polls should elect our next president, and not the voters.
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Old 10-28-04, 10:42 AM
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nationwide standard system.

THIS IS TOTAL BS- how could we be worse then we were in 2000?
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