Already facing the possibility of not being able to complete its recount of votes by 3 p.m. Thursday, Palm Beach County election officials are facing a new obstacle to meeting that deadline — overheating voting machines being used to recount the votes.
As reported by the Tampa Bay Times, local elections supervisor Susan Bucher says her office was forced to fly in mechanics to repair the malfunctioning equipment, which officials say resulted in the loff of more than a day’s work in the recount.
“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.”
Bucher says when the machines overheated they gave incorrect totals, which forced the county to restart its recount of about 175,000 early votes.
Bucher had already said earlier this week that Palm Beach County wouldn’t make the Thursday deadline for completing its machine recount because it didn’t have enough machines to complete the recount on time.
Separate lawsuits have been filed asking the courts to extend the recount deadline in Palm Beach County unrelated to the overheating equipment problems.
The machine recount began Saturday in some counties, including Palm Beach, after the vote margins in the three statewide contests in question fell below the 0.50 percentage that state law sets as a trigger point for proceeding with an automatic recount. If any of those races result in a difference of less than 0.25 percent, an automatic hand recount will be ordered with a deadline for reporting the final numbers set for Sunday.
If the county is unable to complete its machine recount by tomorrow afternoon, it must submit its original vote count along with an explanation for why it failed to meet the deadline. The law also instructs canvassing boards to continue working to complete the machine recount.
The final election results are scheduled to be certified by the state 9 a.m. next Tuesday.