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Local Election Recounts In Broward, Delayed By Machine Glitch, Will Still Make State Deadline

Election workers Wednesday morning duplicating any ballots that couldn't be read by the machines during the recount process.
Caitie Switalski Muñoz
Election workers Wednesday morning duplicating any ballots that couldn't be read by the machines during the recount process.

Early voting ballots were printed with ink that has been difficult for the counting machines to read at the correct pace. It's caused the elections office to recount these early ballots an extra time.

The machine recount in a few Broward County races is taking a day longer than expected.

One countywide judicial race, one question in Davie, and city commission races in Dania Beach, Hallandale Beach were so close they triggered recounts.

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The canvassing board, made up of the Supervisor of Elections, a county judge and county commissioner, met Wednesday morning to talk through the machine recounts, which experienced a glitch and would take one extra day than planned.

When the machine recounts started, some of the early voting ballots were printed in a way where the high speed counters in the machines couldn't read the ink used — said Broward's Supervisor of Elections Peter Antonacci.

"It's not a problem with reading the results that are on each ballot. It's the problem of reading the timing marks on the side of the ballot," he said. "The machines are having a problem recognizing which ballot it is that they're supposed to be reading."

Election workers sat in pairs Wednesday morning at the elections office in Lauderhill and worked to duplicate the ballots that the machines weren't able to recount, which is allowed under Florida election laws.

Read More: Four Local Races In Broward Headed To Recounts That Will Stretch Into Next Week

While the city commission race in Dania Beach may be decided once the machine recount ends, the race in Hallandale Beach, the countywide judicial race and the town question in Davie all may not be decided until this weekend. The margins in those races fall at or below the 0.25% difference requiring manual recounts — done by hand.

While those were initially planned to get started Wednesday, the manual recounts in the municipal races are now expected to start Thursday. The canvassing board will meet Thursday starting at 8 a.m. to order those recounts, as well as review the machine recount results.

The Broward elections office had built in buffer days, and says the recounts will be done in time meet deadlines this weekend, Antonacci said.

"We're meeting on Saturday and that's going to be our report," he said. "And then we'll submit our report to the Secretary of State."

Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, leads the WLRN Newsroom as Director of Daily News & Original Live Programming. Previously she reported on news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News.
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