Validating The Vote - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Validating The Vote

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The political races have been decided, but the final vote totals are still preliminary. Florida's elections supervisors are busy verifying the results and the state has until November 19 to certify them as final and official.

On Wednesday, one day after the General Election, the Bay County Supervisor of Elections office was busy as staff, volunteers and the canvassing board began validating the ballots.

"We finished the election... but it really isn't over until you've done your audit, your validations, your provisional ballots," said Mark Anderson, Supervisor of Elections.

"We just check to make sure the procedures are right and everybody is in the right precinct and the right person is voting," said Timothy Campbell, a Bay County judge and chairman of the canvassing board.

Andersen said Tuesday's election went smoothly, with the biggest problem being voters showing up at the wrong precinct. There were ten fewer polling stations this year, and long lines at a handful of them forced elections officials to deliver extra machines during voting hours.

Voters were still in line at four precincts when the polls closed at seven o'clock. "We waited for those to work their way through," said Andersen. "We had a hundred percent return of all our results and by 8:30 our election was basically in."

Andersen said there were some lessons learned. "We now understand the dynamics of the two sheet ballot because Bay County has never had one before," he said. "Now we're experienced on it so we can tighten up those little areas."

For members of the canvassing board, ensuring the integrity of the vote is just another link in the chain of democracy. "I'm very honored to be here and part of this process... this is where it happens," said Campbell. "This is really part of America, what separates us from many other countries throughout history."

Unofficially, a total of 80,114 ballots were cast in Bay County, a turnout of 71%. In the 2008 General Election, voters cast 81,729 ballots for a 74% turnout.