ELECTIONS SITE POSTS ERRANT TALLY, BUDDY JOHNSON'S OFFICE AGAIN AT FAULT - Mitch Perry

09/23/04

The St. Petersburg Times reported today that the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Election’s underreported the voter turnout from the August 31st Primary election by almost 20,000 votes.

The Times reports that the total on the Elections web site listed 118,699 people voting last month. But the total turnout reported by Johnson to the Florida Division of Elections was 138,398, almost 20,000 more. The Higher number is the official number, certified by the state.

The reason for the mistake? Johnson says it was human error.

This discrepancy is the 3rd negative incident eminating from the Primary election in Hillsborough. Last Friday, Johnson announced that he had discovered 245 that were never counted. Those votes were conducted in the 2 weeks prior to the Primary, and weren’t counted when an elections worker left a voting machine in “test� mode, causing its votes to be recorded but not added to the final election results.

Democrat Rob McKenna is opposing Johnson in the N ovember 2nd General Election. He said that individually, these problems might be understandable, but as whole, it’s disturbing (roll tape#1 o.q. “ back on him�)

Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections Buddy Johnson had another vote tabulation problem after the polls closed on August 31st - when his computers slowed dramatically, with the result being the County was the last in the state to post final results - coming in at 5AM the following morning.

As a challenger facing an incumbent, albeit one selected for the post by Governor Jeb Bush after Pam Iorio stepped down nearly 2 years ago, challenger Rob McKenna admits that the mistakes made by Buddy Johnson’s office are presenting him with a great opportunity (roll tape#2 o.q.� are going to bring�)

Still to come is the November 2nd General Election, in which Hillsborough will be one of 15 counties statewide using touch screen voting machines that have had been the source of anxiety in the past year. Democrat Rob McKenna - a computer programmer for the Eckerd Corporation - has been a strong advocate for a paper trail for those machines - to verify the results….He says the problems already that have occurred don’t auger well for a smooth election in November (roll tape#3 o.q. “I hope to God their not mine�) Buddy Johnson did not return WMNF's phone call by airtime.

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