The Democratic National Committee said it started receiving complaints from voters that the actual ballot was very confusing. Basically, voters said, the hole punch for Gore on the ballot was so close to that of Buchanan that many voters weren’t sure who they had voted for.
“By Gore there were two holes … I had to figure out which one,” said voter Lena Fransetta. “I asked one of the ladies for help and she didn’t know. When I left I figured out I voted wrong.”
That confusion, sources said, may have accounted for the double voting on so many of the thousands of disqualified balllots.
Buchanan earned 3,407 votes or .8 percent of the vote for the presidency. Statewide, Buchanan won 16,698 or .3 percent of the vote.
Democrats say it would be unusual for Buchanan to get so many votes in this heavily Democratic County, where Gore pulled in 62.2 percent of the votes.
“Pat Buchanan wound up getting significant votes in condo and senior communities where overwhelming numbers of people are moderate-to-liberal Democrats,” Wexler said. “There will be many ballots whether it is actually straight Democratic ticket voting except for Pat Buchanan.”
The complaints about the confusion came in early on Tuesday, Democrats contend.
Democratic National Committee officials reacted immediately by calling the county supervisor, trying to put up signs, or designate a phone number for those who felt they may have voted the wrong way. The director of Florida’s Division of Elections, Clay Roberts, said there was nothing wrong or unlawful with ballots in the state .
Boxes Missing, Then Found The DNC at one point also claimed nine ballot boxes were missing in Broward County, which reported approximately 571,000 votes, but later reported the boxes were recovered and were being counted.
They said they had no information on how the boxes were lost or how they were found. Ed Cast of the Florida Elections Committee said the boxes were never really missing. “There was a slight mishap, but they have been sitting at the supervisor’s office,” Cast said.
Other allegations of a misplaced vote box appeared to be unfounded when it turned out, according to election officials, that the box did not contain ballots, but rather materials used by election workers.
Recount Demanded Early
Even before the presidential race in Florida became too close to call, and Democrats asked for a recount there. Party officials said voters were complaining of misinformation, possible tampering and other irregularities in the Sunshine State.
“There have been reports of irregularities,” ABCNEWS Political Director Mark Halperin said.
“Florida is a big, sprawling state with a pretty fabled political history in terms of, in some parts of the state, voting irregularities. If it comes down to the question of a mistake in Florida, how close Florida is, and Florida deciding the winner, I think there’s going to be a lot of looking at the process as a whole. The winner of Florida in all likelihood wins this election.”
Vanishing Votes in Volusia?
A Florida Democratic Party official has raised a concern that thousands of votes for Gore may have been omitted from the Democrat’s vote total because of a computer error in Volusia County.
The problem was due to a faulty computer disk that contained results from a particular precinct, but county officials have not yet said specifically what the trouble was.