Voting machines fail again

Apr 5, 2005 7:32 AM

Voting problems in Florida are nothing new so there was little surprise last week when it was learned that a computer glitch caused Miami-Dade County’s electronic voting machines to throw out hundreds of ballots in a special election that determined that the electorate was opposed to installing slot machines at Calder Race Course and Biscayne Greyhound Track.

When election officials studied the results of the March 8 voting they found that there was a high number of so-called undervotes or ballots with no recorded votes. Further investigation determined that a computer glitch in the communities of West Miami, Bay Harbor Island, Surfside, Golden Beach and Cutler Ridge failed to register nearly 500 ballots that had been cast. They found that bad coding told the machines to reject ballots if voters didn’t press a red flashing button to complete the process.

Would the addition of these votes change the final results?

County Elections Supervisor Constance Kaplan said they would not have but she also submitted her resignation. And other county officials insist that a true reading of the community can only be determined when all the votes cast are properly counted.

Tough luck for Churchill Downs Inc. (CHDN) the owner of Calder Race Course, which had counted on slot machine revenue to upgrade the track’s purse structure in order to attract a better quality of horses.

Competitor Gulfstream Park, owned by Magna Entertainment Corp., is located in Broward County where the voters approved the racino concept.

Regulations regarding the type of machines to be permitted, the hours of operation and the state tax are being debated in the legislature.