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Canvassing Board Sets Write-in Confusion Right

Leon county canvassing board at election supervisors office
Regan McCarthy WFSU News

Election Day made for a busy day for the members of the Leon County Canvassing Board. The board is responsible for everything from verifying signatures on mail in ballots to interpreting ballots a voting machine can’t read

One of the machines in the election supervisor's office sorts ballots with write in candidates into a separate bin. They're hand counted. Assistant Elections Supervisor Chris Moore says only qualified candidates are counted. But he says sometimes voters get creative with what they write.

"Sometimes people will write commentary in their ballots and sometimes they like to write messages and things like that,” Moore says.

In a case considered by the Canvassing board Tuesday a voter had marked a presidential candidate and also left a comment on the write in candidate line. The machine sent the ballot back for review because it interpreted the marks as a double vote. But the board, which is charged with determining voter intent, found it was clear the ballot included one vote for one candidate along with a little commentary.

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Regan McCarthy is the Assistant News Director for WFSU Public Media. Before coming to Tallahassee, Regan graduated with honors from Indiana University’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism. She worked for several years for NPR member station WFIU in Bloomington, Ind., where she covered local and state government and produced feature and community stories.

Phone: (850) 645-6090 | rmccarthy@fsu.edu

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