Palm Beach County commissioners on Tuesday agreed to upgrade vote-counting software, just over a month after a vote-counting mix-up in the Wellington city council election. The software improvements cost $117,450 in a deal with Dominion Voting Systems, Inc. Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher had the deal in the works before the Election Night problems in Wellington. Bucher in March initially blamed software problems for her office naming the incorrect winners in two Wellington races. The software upgrades and other procedural changes are supposed to iron out any problems like those that occurred in Wellington and speed up Palm Beach County’s traditionally slow vote counting.
Palm Beach County has blamed geography for often ending up as one of the last counties to post election returns on Election Night. Palm Beach County is Florida’s largest county and the largest county east of the Mississippi River. Waiting for poll workers to deliver vote-recording cartridges from far-flung poling sites to the tabulation center in Riviera Beach hampers the county’s ability to post results sooner.
The county this year planned to start using modems to electronically transmit vote totals, but in March dropped those plans because many of the polling site phone lines were incompatible with the modems.
Instead of using modems, Bucher has opted for software improvements and setting up satellite vote-tabulation sites throughout the county.