Reports: IT involved in Florida election snafu

Two of the Florida counties at the center of the 2000 U.S. election fiasco are again in the spotlight of an election mess, and this time computers are involved.

Florida's primary election Tuesday was marred by a variety of human and technical problems, most of which occurred in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, according to published reports.

The technical problems involved spanking-new electronic voting systems that either malfunctioned or were improperly operated, while the human problems centered mainly on poll workers who either didn't show up for work or didn't do their jobs properly, various Florida news outlets reported.

The human and technical glitches, which caused polling places to open late and problems tabulating votes, prompted an angry Gov. Jeb Bush on Tuesday to order that polling places remain open two additional hours.

One Miami-Dade county voter who had to wait for her polling place to open was former attorney U.S. general Janet Reno, who is running for the gubernatorial candidacy of the Democratic party. The Miami Herald ran a picture of Reno standing by her trademark red pickup truck with her arms folded and a worried look on her face after she was told the touch screen machines in her polling place weren't yet operating.

As of late Wednesday afternoon, votes were still being tabulated in Miami-Dade and Broward, and some races were too close to call, including the Democratic party primary race for governor, in which Reno was trailing the front-runner Bill McBride by a slim margin.

At mid-afternoon Wednesday, only 83.8 percent of the votes had been counted in Miami-Dade, according to the Web site of the Florida Department of State's Division of Elections. Broward was getting close to 98 percent.

Voting proceeded normally in most of Florida's 67 counties, prompting Secretary of State Jim Smith to say that "for 65 of those counties, they did a good job ... and two counties get an F minus, minus, minus," according to an article posted Wednesday on the Web site of the Fort Lauderdale-based Sun Sentinel newspaper.

In Miami-Dade, 110 precincts were reporting at 9:45 am Tuesday -- almost three hours after the polls opened -- that at least half of their voting machines didn't work, according to a Miami Herald article published Wednesday.

It's not clear how many voters were unable to exercise their right to vote because of the election day problems. Calls placed to the Broward and Miami-Dade supervisor of election offices weren't immediately returned.

After the 2000 election problems, the state and the counties revamped voting systems statewide, so that for Tuesday's election, all Florida voters had access to either paper-based ballots designed to be read by a scanner or to touch-screen voting devices, according to Florida Department of State's Division of Elections Web site.

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