Palm Beach County Voters accused of double-voting attemptgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Current News - Homefront Preparations : One Thread
Friday, November 8
By Tim O'Meilia, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Friday, November 8, 2002
WEST PALM BEACH -- As many as two dozen Palm Beach County voters could face criminal charges for attempting to vote twice in Tuesday's statewide election.
Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore said Thursday she would ask the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office next week to consider filing charges. Elections officials still are compiling information on the balloting.
The voters had sent in absentee ballots, then voted provisional ballots at the polls Tuesday, claiming they had not voted earlier, LePore said. "They sign an oath on the provisional ballot, swearing they have not yet cast a vote," LePore said. "And they aren't all old people either."
LePore has said she might also refer Palm Beach Post reporter Lou Salome's name to the State Attorney's Office for possible criminal charges regarding attempted double-voting, a third-degree felony that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Salome did not sign or fill out a provisional ballot. Instead, he signed a voter roll list to get a card for electronic voting after he already had voted absentee to verify the county's procedures for stopping someone from voting twice. He notified precinct officials of the flaw in the system and returned the card without attempting to vote on the touch-screen machine.
The double-voting involving provisional ballots was discovered when the county's three-member canvassing board compared the provisional ballots with the absentee ballots. The provisional ballots of the double-voters were not counted.
Provisional voting was created by the legislature last year as part of an election reform package. A voter who has been issued an absentee ballot is allowed to vote provisionally if he claims he hasn't returned the absentee and doesn't surrender the unvoted absentee to precinct officials. Elections officials later check absentee ballot returns to verify the claim.
Just before the noon deadline for certifying votes to the state, the canvassing board finished reviewing several thousand questionable absentee ballots, about 1,200 provisional ballots and write-in votes on both absentee and provisional ballots.
The board -- comprising Palm Beach County Judge Barry Cohen, County Commission Chairman Warren Newell and LePore -- spent more than 20 hours beginning Tuesday, reviewing the ballots.
LePore said several thousand absentees were rejected, mostly because they lacked either the voter's signature, a witness' signature or the witness' address. But 53,321 absentees were accepted, the most ever for a county election.
About 150 provisional ballots were rejected, many because they were cast in the wrong precinct or were from unregistered voters; 1,010 were accepted.
"We tried to do everything we could to make sure a vote counts," she said. One absentee ballot was mailed from Connecticut, apparently witnessed by a postal clerk there who stamped the address section with a postmark. The canvassing board called the Connecticut post office to verify the postal worker worked there.
The Republican Party filed a formal protest after about a dozen absentees were accepted without a witness' address. The voter and witness in those cases apparently were husband and wife, and Cohen and Newell voted to accept the printed address on the ballot as the witness's address. LePore dissented. The protest will be meaningless unless a candidate officially protests the results or files suit. Officials have until Nov. 16 to correct mistakes, complete any recounts and file final results. No recounts were called for in area races.
-- Anonymous, November 08, 2002
Makes me wonder about the 2000 election.
Interesting about that reporter. I'm surprised local news didn't carry the story last night. Or if they did, I must have missed it.
Our local channel six had two people go thru the training for working at the polls. One in Dade the other in Broward. They both felt they were sufficiently trained to handle the job once they were working, but prior to election day they felt unprepared. They said that in training class there were some bored people who appeared to be sleeping instead of paying attention. they had hidden cameras, too.
-- Anonymous, November 08, 2002