It’s a ballot recount in a tight presidential race that invites easy comparisons to the electoral crisis of 2000. About 27,000 absentee ballots can’t be digitally scanned because of a recently discovered design flaw. Elections workers began Monday duplicating the markings from bad ballots to new ones so that the votes could be recorded, an effort that has led some to question the accuracy of results. And it’s all happening in Palm Beach County. “By now, questions can be asked about why these type of problems keep happening in this one county,” said Ed Foley, an Ohio State University law professor and expert on election law.
But Foley and other elections experts say that unlike the butterfly ballot and hanging chads of the infamous Bush-Gore voting 12 years ago, this year’s mishap with Palm Beach absentee ballots probably won’t sway an entire national election. “There are no perfect elections and glitches happen,” Foley said. “In this case, they caught it in time and set up a pretty good review process that’s transparent and is probably the best one possible.”
… The error was discovered after some were mailed out earlier this month. The vendor, Dominion Voting, had printed 60,000 absentee ballots that had no header signifying a different section for the merit retention races for justices on the Florida Supreme Court. So the ballot segues abruptly from a Port of Palm Beach candidate to the question of “Shall Justice R. Fred Lewis of the Supreme Court be retained in office?”