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Palm Beach Forced to Restart Recount Due to Voting Machine Malfunction

(Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Palm Beach County was forced to begin recounting votes again after a number of voting machines overheated and produced incorrect counts, supervisor of elections Susan Bucher announced Tuesday evening.

“We’re disappointed by the mechanical problems that are going to cause a further delay in the recount,” Bucher told reporters. “It became evident through the vigorous pace of counting that the machines used for the recount were starting to get stressed.”

The voting machine malfunctions erased more than one day’s progress in the recount effort, which began Saturday. While the machine malfunction further delayed their progress, Bucher had already announced on Monday that the county would be unable to meet the 3p.m. Thursday recount deadline. On Tuesday, Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers granted the county an extension until November 20.

The Florida Senate, gubernatorial and agriculture commissioner races were sent to recounts after the initial vote counts in all three races ended up within the 0.5 percentage recount threshold.

The machine malfunction is just the latest in a series of missteps on the part of Florida election officials. Republicans sued last week to force Broward County elections supervisor Brenda Snipes to disclose the number of absentee ballots her office received.

A judge sided with the attorneys representing governor Rick Scott, the Republican Senate candidate, finding that Snipes violated the state’s public records law by refusing to disclose the number of absentee ballots she received and by failing to update her office’s count every 45 minutes.

Snipes, who has twice previously been found guilty of violating election law, also came under fire after she admitted to contaminating some 200 valid provisional ballots by mixing in roughly 20 rejected ballots.

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