Lawyers for rival presidential candidates Mitt Romney and President Obama descended on the Palm Beach County Elections Office today, trying to find out what procedures would be in place next week to assure an estimated 27,000 absentee ballots that contain printing errors would be copied accurately. Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher said candidates or their representatives would be allowed to observe what is expected to be dozens of two-person teams duplicating the ballots. But, she said, the exact procedure won’t be announced until Friday. Ballots will begin being opened and copied on Monday at 10 a.m. “It will be first-come, first-served one person per candidate,” Bucher said. Representatives could come from the campaigns of anyone seeking office in the Nov. 6 election, from Obama and Romney to Palm Beach County Port Commissioner Jean Enright. How many will be allowed to watch each team will be a function of how much room is available.
“That’s not a procedure, that’s chaos,” said Miami attorney Raquel Rodriquez. While she is statewide co-chair of Lawyers for Romney, she said she was only speaking for herself, not the group. Further, Rodriguez said, she doesn’t believe the process Bucher outlined conforms with state election law. “She’s inventing a procedure,” she said. Bucher disagreed with Rodriguez’s assessment, insisting the system she is proposing was plucked from state law. In an email, the Florida Division of Elections said it has signed off in principle on Bucher’s plans.