LAUDERHILL, Fla. (WSVN) — Nearly a thousand ballots that were not included in Florida’s final count have been found in a warehouse in Broward County.
Tuesday morning and into the night, there was a buzz of activity at the Voting Equipment Center in Lauderhill, a week after the general election. There was a recount going on for two commission seats that were too close to call, one in Hallandale Beach and another in Dania Beach. Workers had to count those votes manually.
Also keeping elections officials busy is the fact that 963 filled ballots were found in a warehouse. The supervisor of elections, Dr. Brenda Snipes, said this happens all the time, especially when dealing with paper ballots. Her department is not the only one to have seen more ballots added to the final number after the election, and they have until Nov. 18 to certify all the votes.
Snipes noted that it is a routine thing to look for these kind of mishaps after election night and she is just glad that they are now being tallied into that final count.
Last Tuesday, close to 800,000 people voted in Broward County, some waited in lines for four to five and sometimes six hours. Many have said the news of these ballots add to their uneasiness about how the election was run. Florida was the last state to officially announce its election results, long after President Obama was officially announced as re-elected.
Snipes said there is no reason for alarm. “I’ve run several elections here, and this election was run no different than any other,” she said. “I think the difference with this election is that there was a close race between the two presidential candidates, and there was pressure put on everyone, including our office, to get all of the votes, count, count, count, so you don’t have an opportunity to check every box that comes back because you got to get what you got in hand and get it out of there, so if the voters would rather that we kind of sit back and relax and then clean up and find ballots. Then I think they would really be very upset.”
She said that further complicating this election was a very long ballot filled with proposed amendments. Snipes has promised that her department will meet their deadline by Sunday.
Does this indicate election fraud or not?
The short answer is: We don’t know yet. Unless specific evidence comes to light indicating that an effort has been made to skew the vote totals one way or the other, we cannot say whether election fraud has played a part. What we do know is this: It takes time for election officials to count votes correctly. Public or media impatience to make vote totals available as soon as possible on election night means that there won’t be time to make sure that every ballot cast has actually been tabulated.
The vote-counting process must include an auditing procedure to make sure that every ballot box has been accounted for in the counting process. Failure to maintain a secure chain of custody for ballots is inexcusable.