With some Palm Beach County voters voicing concerns about Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher’s plan to hand-copy votes from thousands of defective absentee ballots onto new ones, it appears there’s no other solution to the problem that was created by a printing error, a lawyer who is monitoring the situation said Thursday. “Our main issue is how to deal with the defective ballots,” said Tallahassee attorney Barry Richard, who represents three Florida Supreme Court justices who face merit retention in the November election. “There’s going to be a lot of people opening ballots and recording votes on new ballots. This obviously is fraught with the possibility for human error.”
He said he is hopeful a machine can be calibrated to read the defective ballots instead of having workers duplicate them. “I’m not concerned people are going to intentionally commit fraud with the ballots,” Richard said. “But when you have that many people going through thousands of ballots by hand, transferring a dot on one page to a dot on another page, that’s what concerns us.” The need to have workers duplicate ballots surfaced when a printing company in Arizona sent flawed ballots to 60,000 absentee voters. While the error was corrected so headers will appear over the names of the three justices up for merit retention, it created a new problem, Bucher said this week.