110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Persis, Bruno out; but Northey stays on County Council
By Beacon staff
posted Nov 6, 2012 - 11:22:26am
12:05 A.M. WEDNESDAY, NOV. 7: While Volusia County voters sent some familiar political figures packing — including outgoing County Chair Frank Bruno and longtime Volusia County Council Member Carl Persis — other familiar people on the political scene will stay in office.
The keepers include Pat Northey in County Council District 5 and Sheriff Ben Johnson, as well as Clerk of the Court Diane Matousek. All three were re-elected by comfortable margins.
In the county chair race, newcomer Jason Davis, a radio-show host and Gulf War veteran with no experience in elected office, was elected over Persis with 55.4 percent of the vote.
Yet, in the District 1 County Council race, voters chose veteran politician Pat Patterson over less-experienced Jeff Allebach.
Johnson's victory celebration, at the Grant Bly House in DeLand, was one of the earlier celebrations in Volusia County.
The results were clear early in the evening — Johnson was winning by a landslide, and that trend continued. At 11:30 p.m. Election Day, he had 74.91 percent of the vote compared to contender Wendell Bradford's 25.09 percent.
"It's a vote of confidence" in the Sheriff's Office, and how it's been managed, Johnson said.
He's grateful for that confidence, Johnson said.
Johnson has been in office since 2000; he's about to begin his fourth term.
Former Deltona City Commissioner David Santiago will be the new representative for the new District 27. He bested Phil Giorno, who stepped in when candidate Dennis Mulder dropped out of the race.
"First I want to thank everyone who voted for me, and I want to thank everyone who went out and vote," Santiago said.
He said it was telling for him to see the results.
"My strategy is to bring people together, regardless of their party," Santiago said. "I want to do a good job in Tallahassee for all people, that's going to be my goal."
District 27 comprises mostly the city of Deltona, Volusia County's largest city.
Pat Northey, with 60.32 percent of the vote at around 10:25 p.m., said she was feeling comfortable with claiming re-election to her District 5 seat on the County Council.
She defeated contender Rich Gailey in a sometimes heated campaign.
Northey was home.
"I was up at Beef O'Brady's, and came home exhausted," she said, adding, "It was a great event."
The event gave her a chance to say "thank you" to some of her supporters, Northey said.
Deltona City Commission candidates Nancy Schleicher and Christopher Nabicht, who had garnered 52.79 percent and 59.07 percent of the votes in their races, respectively, joined her at the Deltona eatery, she said, for a good celebration.
"I'm looking forward to returning to the County Council and serving two years," Northey added.
She will reach the end of her term limit then.
Andy Ferrari won West Volusia Hospital Authority Seat 2 over veterinarian Don Kanfer.
Ferrari was driving back from congressional candidate Heather Beaven's campaign office in Bunnell this evening at 10:40 p.m. in good spirits, despite Beaven's loss.
"I'm excited. I've got a good margin on my opponent and it's looking pretty good," Ferrari said.
Ferrari said he wouldn't officially celebrate until the votes from West Volusia's large precincts had all been counted.
With 124 of 125 precincts counted at midnight, Ferrari had 63.35 percent of the vote to Kanfer's 36.65 percent.
Shannon McLeish, candidate for County Council District 4, which stretches from Ormond Beach to Northwest Volusia, watched election coverage at the Moose Club in Ormond Beach with friends and supporters.
Watching the results was a nail-biter, she said. It was a close election. Opponent Doug Daniels was ahead, by a couple of hundred votes, when McLeish talked to The Beacon.
She didn't yet know would would win, but was proud of how well she was doing.
Whether she or Daniels would win, they have respect for each other, McLeish said.
"I'm sure we'll be speaking to each other," she said.
At midnight, the near-final tally showed Daniels with 52.75 percent of the vote to McLeish's 47.25 percent.
Volusia County Clerk of Court Diane Matousek will remain in her office. She had 62.38 percent of the vote with all but one Volusia County precinct counted, to challenger Christine Sanders' 37.62 percent.
"I'm very happy," Matousek said. "Clearly the Volusia County voters understand and appreciate how our team at the Clerk's Office serves the public. I'm humbled to have won this election. This is a proud day for me and each of my coworkers."
She added, "My campaign volunteers worked so hard, and I am so grateful."
11:30 P.M. TUESDAY, NOV. 6: In Volusia County, with 123 of 125 precincts reporting and absentee ballots and early votes tallied, just 735 votes separated incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
Obama had 91,811 votes to Romney's 91,076.
Statewide, the margin was also razor thin, with the Florida Division of Elections reporting 49.84 percent of the Florida vote for Obama and 49.3 percent for Romney.
Nationally, though, major news organizations were calling the election for Obama, and predicting that Florida's electoral-college votes would go to the incumbent president.
Republican HQ in DeLand a happy place
10:50 P.M. TUESDAY, NOV. 6: The West Volusia Republican Headquarters in DeLand was packed, and the air was festive as votes were tallied Nov. 6.
Justin Knuebel, 25, was happy to see Republicans maintaining the U.S. House of Representatives.
"Thank God; hopefully we'll get the Senate," he said. "It's going to be a hard one."
There were a few upsets.
"I'm really surprised with [U.S. Rep.] Alan Grayson winning his district," Knuebel said.
Knuebel had been a sign-waver, and said while it was a positive experience, there were a few moments of negativity from the other camp.
"I was holding my huge billboard [Romney/Ryan sign] on the corner of 44 and Amelia and there's this guy giving me the finger," he said. Then, Knuebel said, the man swore at him.
"I was like, you've got to be kidding me."
Bob Enck said it had been an interesting night, and he also reported a great voter turnout.
"Precinct 212, the Lutheran Retirement Home, had more than 1,000 — we usually get 400," Enck said.
Marilyn Lanning was a poll-watcher in Glenwood.
"This was the first time we ever had long lines," she said. "We had no problems whatsoever."
Lanning said election night is the culmination of months of work, and Republican Club members and nonmembers alike rolled up their sleeves and got to work.
"We had people just walk in the door and say 'Can I help?'" she said.
— Jen Horton
Jason Davis leads chair race
10:40 P.M. TUESDAY, NOV. 6: With 90 of 125 precincts reporting, and the absentee-ballot and early-voting results tallied, radio talk-show host and Gulf War veteran Jason Davis led the race for Volusia County chair by 12 percentage points.
Davis jumped out ahead of longtime Volusia County political figure Carl Persis, with 78,636 votes to 61,869 votes for Persis shortly after 10:30 p.m. Nov. 6.
"We're very pleased," Davis said as the first precinct results were being added to the early-voting totals. "I'm pretty confident right now. But anything can happen."
The early results bode ill for Persis because the majority of the early voters were Democrats. Although county chair is a nonpartisan race, Davis is a self-proclaimed conservative Republican.
According to the county's Elections Supervisor's Office, 27,123 Democrats voted early, while 20,156 Republicans cast ballots before the polls opened on Tuesday. Another 13,152 independents and members of splinter parties also voted early.
Persis, a public-school principal who had been Ormond Beach mayor before serving almost eight years in the District 4 County Council seat, came out of the Aug. 14 primary with most of the votes, but not a majority. Davis took second place in the three-man primary race.
Deltona candidate: 'God has spoken'
10 P.M. TUESDAY, NOV. 6: Beef 'O' Brady's in Deltona has become a de facto Democratic Party headquarters, as partisan candidates gathered to watch the election results on television, chow down on fried food and favorite beverages, celebrate victories, and seek consolation for losses.
Rob Field appeared to be the only clear loser at the restaurant, as he got the results in the Deltona City Commission's District 2 race. That race showed him trailing behind Webster Barnaby.
"I'm going around to congratulate the winners," Field said to some of the people around him.
Barnaby, meanwhile, was monitoring election results at the Best Western Inn in Deltona.
"I'm fielding calls right now," Barnaby told The Beacon. "It's exciting. It's the people's time. God has spoken, and he wants leaders with integrity."
Barnaby said he has not yet received a call from Field conceding the election, but, he added, he expects to receive that call.
In the District 4 race, Nancy Schleicher is cautiously optimistic that she will win the commission seat she sought unsuccessfully in 2007.
"Looks like we'll be here for a long night," she said, as she was surrounded by friends and supporters.
Tom Premo, who was watching the election results in his home, said he and Schleicher had talked cordially throughout the campaign and had both tried to run a clean race.
"I don't want to be thrown under the bus, and I don't want to throw her under the bus," Premo said.
Chris Nabicht, seated at the end of a long table at Beef 'O' Brady's, is looking forward to a new career as a commissioner from Deltona's District 6.
"It's going to be a challenge," he said, as he voiced optimism that he will maintain his lead in votes over Michael Scott Wycuff.
Wycuff, meanwhile, said he, too, has been on good terms with his rival.
"I called Chris today, and I said, 'If you win, I want to be part of your inner circle, and if I win, I want you in my inner circle," Wycuff added.
Wycuff concluded he hopes whoever wins the municipal election will work to bring Deltona's people together and will work to end the division that often marks the City Commission proceedings.
Some candidates win 60 percent plus
9:30 P.M. TUESDAY, NOV. 6: If precinct voting reflects the results reported from early and absentee-ballot votes, a handful of Volusia County candidates can feel comfortable.
Ben Johnson in the sheriff's race, Pat Northey in the County Council District 5 race, Christopher Kelly in the county judge race, Diane Matousek in the Clerk of the Court race, and Andy Ferrari in the West Volusia Hospital Authority race — all bested their opponents by more than 60 percent in the results reported from early and absentee-ballot voting.
At 9:30 p.m., these ballots were the only ones tallied by the Volusia County Elections Office. Long lines of voters in place when the polls closed at 7 p.m. assure that precinct results will not be available until later tonight.
In the Clerk of the Court race, incumbent Matousek had 61.81 percent of the early-reported results, to her opponent Christine Sanders' 38.19 percent, with 145,471 votes counted in the countywide race.
Incumbent Sheriff Johnson had 74.54 percent of the 147,180 votes counted in the sheriff's race at 9:25 p.m., to challenger Wendell Bradford's 25.46 percent.
In the county judge Group 4 race, Kelly had 63.16 percent of 128,745 votes cast in that race, to Adam Warren's 36.84 percent.
In County Council District 5, with 27,416 votes counted, incumbent Northey had 60.64 percent to political newcomer Rich Gailey's 39.36 percent.
The West Volusia Hospital Authority race, with 47,995 votes counted, showed Ferrari capturing 63.07 percent of the vote, to Don Kanfer's 36.93 percent.
At 9:40 p.m. totals from just two precincts had been added to the results at the Elections Office website.
— Barb Shepherd
First precinct ballots arrive
8:55 P.M. TUESDAY, NOV. 6: The first ballots from precinct voting places were being delivered to the Volusia County Elections Office shortly before 9 p.m. tonight.
Closing at many polling places has been delayed because large numbers of voters were still in line when the polls closed at 7 p.m. Poll-closing could not occur until the last voter in line at 7 p.m. cast his or her ballot.
8:10 P.M. TUESDAY, NOV. 6: At the Volusia County Elections Office tonight, there were rumblings from government watchdogs upset about the lack of official information about a possible extension of polling hours.
Elections Supervisor Ann McFall said she had heard a rumor that the governor might extend polling hours for up to two hours.
"I'm trying to imagine what it must be like for a poll worker. This is ridiculous," said Kitty Garber, president of the Florida Fair Elections Coalition.
Ashleigh Hart and her son, J.J., age 2, waited in the hallway at the Volusia County Historic Courthouse for Supervisor McFall to bring them an envelope.
"I went to drop off my absentee ballot at my poll, and they couldn't accept it," Hart said. "So I had to drive from DeBary, where my poll at St. Ann's is across the street, to DeLand."
Hart was in a good mood, even though little J.J. was getting sleepy.
"I have to make sure my one vote counted," Hart said. "This only happens once every four years."
When she got to the Supervisor of Election's office, workers couldn't accept her ballot because it was missing the envelope.
"I didn't mail it, because I lost the envelope," Hart said.
Audrey and John Lee have lived in this area for 12 years. They were watching the Volusia County Canvassing Board at work on the evening of Nov. 6.
The couple said they had never seen anything like the crowds at Precinct 217 at the Chisholm Community Center in DeLand.
"I've never seen anything like it," Audrey Lee said. "People are just everywhere. You come up to it, and cars are parked double, and then you go around into the parking lot and just see people wrapped around the building."
Audrey Lee paused and smiled. "You're just like, yes, that is what I'm talking about!"
The couple hail from New Jersey, and have two grown sons who were affected by Hurricane Sandy.
As far as they knew, New Jersey had made alternate provisions so residents would be able to cast ballots.
"One son ususally votes across the street," Audrey Lee said. "He had to go across town. The other son, I'm not sure."
She whipped out her cell phone and called her other son.
"Hey, we're just calling to find out how things are," she said on the phone.
Her son reported he had been able to vote at his normal polling place.
Officials at the Volusia County Elections Office opened a box of 66 federal write-in ballots after 7 p.m. tonight.
The ballots are sent to active overseas military members for federal elections, if for some reason the military member's absentee ballot aren't received in time to cast a vote.
The federal write-in ballots are held by the elections supervisor until after 7 p.m. on Election Day.
"We hold them in case their real ballot comes through on election night," Supervisor McFall said during a meeting of the Canvassing Board this evening.
Six absentee ballots reviewed by the Canvassing Board had duplicate pages.
The board reviewed them ballot by ballot and voided the duplicate pages if the duplicates were identical. For example, if a ballot had two Page 3, and both had the same marks, one was accepted and the other voided.
However, the six included ballots on which the voter had cast different votes on the identical pages. Because Canvassing Board members could not guess the will of the voters, in those cases, both pages were voided.
— Jen Horton
Absentee, early voting results posted
7:55 P.M. TUESDAY, NOV. 6: Election results are beginning to be posted on the Volusia County Elections website. These are the tallies of absentee-ballot and early voting.
At least 37 percent of Volusia County's 332,556 registered voters cast their ballots either in early voting or by absentee ballot.
At nearly 8 p.m., the Elections Office showed 117,693 votes counted. Figures from the Elections Office earlier today indicated about 123,000 voters cast ballots either by absentee ballot or in early voting.
Long lines at many polling places were expected to delay the finalization of precinct results.
The first flush of results showed President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney trading the lead back and forth. With 117,693 votes counted, Romney had 49.91 percent and Obama had 49.04.
Locally, absentee-ballot and early voters showed voters choosing Dorothy Hukill over Frank Bruno in the state Senate District 8 race, with Hukill's 54.07 percent to Bruno's 45.93 percent.
Political newcomer Jason Davis was edging longtime Volusia County politician Carl Persis for the county chair position, with Davis taking 52.8 percent of the early and absentee votes, and Persis with 47.2 percent of those ballots.
In County Council District 5, incumbent Pat Northey had a strong lead over challenger Rich Gailey in the first batch of counted ballots, with Northey's 61.47 percent topping Gailey's 38.53 percent.
The County Council District 1 race showed former County Council Member Pat Patterson taking the lead over former Orange City Coucil Member Jeff Allebach. Patterson had 52.78 percent of the first batch of votes, while Allebach has 47.22 percent.
Long lines at Chisholm Center
6:55 P.M. TUESDAY, NOV. 6: Volusia County Supervisor of Elections Ann McFall said she has heard that Gov. Rick Scott may extend voting hours today until 9 p.m. However, McFall said the announcement probably would not come until 7 p.m.
"There are still long lines," McFall said at 6:30 p.m.
One of those long lines is at Chisholm Community Center in DeLand, where three precincts are voting.
Beacon writer Sarahrose Ministeri said the line of voters waiting at 6:45 p.m. at Chisholm Community Center encircled most of the building. Inside the polling place, only one ballot-scanning machine is in place.
The parking lot at Chisholm Center is full, and voters have parked along the sides of the street and side streets more than a block away. More cars are crawling South Clara Avenue, their drivers looking for places to park.
By state law, any voter in line at 7 p.m. must be allowed to cast a ballot.
First-time voter shows how it's done
6:16 P.M. TUESDAY, NOV. 6: My son turned 18 in August. He looked forward to voting.
Because he wasn't well-informed, he felt like there were no good decisions, so a few weeks ago he said, "Maybe I won't vote."
I replied, "Maybe you'll be invited to sleep in your Jeep. Voting is a requirement of occupancy in this rent-free domicile."
Last night, we grabbed our sample ballots, The Beacon's voter's guide, and amendment cheat-sheets from both the Democratic and Republican headquarters.
We talked over the amendments, and he made decisions he felt good about.
Today, I picked up his little sister from St. Barnabas Episcopal School, and the three of us went to our polling place.
I have always taken the children to vote. I want them to see the process at work. For the most part, it's easy, it's fun, it doesn't take much time.
People died for that. People suffered. If you don't vote, I believe you should shut your mouth for the next four years. It's just that simple.
So, today we were graced. There was no line at our polling place on Kepler Road in DeLand. Things were moving at a brisk pace.
"First time voter here" I told everyone we passed.
My boy kept shaking his head.
He got the ballot and was off to his cubby. His sister and I took the cubby next door and I may or may not have broken a law when he was like, "I forgot to mark who I wanted for U.S. Senate."
And I might have told him casually that he intended to vote with his party for that.
The rest of the time, I explained to my daughter the importance of being informed and prepared.
"This would be nearly impossible with all of these complicated amendments, to understand them, and do anything other than just guess," I said.
It took minutes for us to fill out my six-page ballot (three pages, front and back). My daughter fed the pages into the reader, and got an "I voted" sticker.
Before we had our stickers on our shirt, my son was feeding his ballot into the machine.
"Congratulations!" the poll worker manning the machine said.
Outside, Beeg Camarota snapped a picture of the three of us.
"A voting virgin! Now you're officially an adult, no matter what your mom says," Camarota said.
Um, not quite.
But he's definitely a proud member of the American voting public.
Congratulations, kiddo. It's a heap-big deal.
Now if I could just get you to take out the trash without having to ask 23 times ... .
— Jen Horton
37 percent vote early or by absentee
3:41 P.M. TUESDAY, NOV. 6: According to figures released by the Volusia County Elections Office at 1 p.m. today, slightly more than 23 percent of Volusia County registered voters were mailed absentee ballots for today's election.
The Elections Office mailed 77,240 ballots. However, only 62,519 absentee ballots had been returned by the time of the report today.
Absentee voters may turn in their ballots at the Elections Office, 123 W. New York Ave., before 7 p.m. today. Absentee ballots may not be turned in at precinct polling locations.
Of the 62,519 ballot received by the Elections Office, 541 were rejected for various reasons, and seven had been deemed "questionable."
In 10 cases, according to the Elections Office report, the voter's signature on the ballot did not match the signature on file with the Elections Office.
Decisions about whether questionable ballots will be counted are made by the Volusia County Canvassing Board, made up of Circuit Court Judge David Foxman, Volusia County Council Vice Chair Joyce Cusack, and Elections Supervisor Ann McFall. The Canvassing Board is in session today at the Volusia County Historic Courthouse. The board's meetings are open to the public.
In addition to those who voted by absentee ballot, the Elections Office reported that another 60,431 people voted during eight days of early voting Oct. 27-Nov. 3.
Those who voted early included 27,123 Democrats and 20,156 Republicans, with the remaining 13,152 registered with other political parties or with no party affiliation (NPA).
Those who voted either by absentee (so far) or in early voting total 122,950, or 37 percent of the registered voters in the county.
Volusia County's voters include 114,321 Republicans, 127,774 Democrats, and 79,649 people registered with no party affiliation.
— Barb Shepherd
Voter said he registered, but wasn't in system
2:12 P.M. TUESDAY, NOV. 6: A South Daytona man came to the Elections Office in DeLand this morning to make an appeal: He wants to vote.
After registering through the Division of Motor Vehicles in August when he got his Florida driver license, David Mullholand went to his South Daytona precinct to vote this morning, only to be told he's not a registered voter.
He brought his story today to Volusia County Elections Supervisor Ann McFall, County Council Vice Chair Joyce Cusack and Circuit Court Judge David Foxman, who were in session at the Volusia County Historic Courthouse as the election Canvassing Board.
"I had come down from Tennessee," Mullholand said. He went to the Florida Driver's License Office with the express intent of registering to vote.
Voters can register or change their voter registration at the Driver's License Office, as a convenience.
Mullholand wasn't eligible to vote during the Aug. 14 primary because he hadn't been registered for at least 29 days before the election, as required by law.
Mullholand checked in at his local precinct on Aug. 14, however, and an elections worker looked on the computer and said Mullholand's name was in the system. The elections worker confirmed Mullholand would be able to vote in the general election, he said.
But today, Nov. 6, Mullholand's name did not appear as a registered voter.
"They sent me here. They said they'd be able to fix it," Mullholand said.
They couldn't, Canvassing Board members said.
County Attorney Dan Eckert, who's been assisting the Canvassing Board with legal questions, told Mullholand there was no way to help him vote today.
"There's no appeal process?" Mullholand asked.
"If you're not on the registration books, there's no way we can legally accept a ballot," Foxman replied. That included a provisional ballot, he said.
Though there could have been some administrative error regarding Mullholand's registration, "We can't make an exception," Foxman said.
After Mullholand left, Foxman said "I feel really bad about it."
"We're committed to count every vote we can legally count, but we also have to follow the law," he added.
Mullholand didn't have a voter-registration card to show the Canvassing Board, Foxman noted.
A voter-registration card is mailed to voters after they register. Voters should look for the card after they first register, or if they make changes to their voter registration.
Mullholand should be able to register to vote in the next election, Foxman said.
— Pat Andrews
Dems call for volunteers
1:57 P.M. TUESDAY, NOV. 6: Northwest Volusia Democratic Club Vice President Kevin Winchell just sent us this update from Democratic Headquarters in DeLand:
"It is 1:53 p.m. here on Election Day at our Club Headquarters in DeLand, and we are busy making phone calls to Democrats who haven't voted yet so that we can win this election for President Obama and every other Democrat down the ticket! We have many dedicated volunteers making these calls, but we could use more help to ensure that we get through our entire list. If you have some time today, please stop by and help out for a bit — there is no 'tomorrow' once the polls close at 7:00 tonight!"
— Sarahrose Ministeri
McFall: Voting machines performing well
NOON TUESDAY, NOV. 6: Few equipment problems have been reported today as voters go to the polls, Volusia County Elections Supervisor Ann McFall said.
Only a couple of memory-card problems were reported, plus one machine was dropped as it was carried to its station, necessitating a new memory card.
During the Aug. 14 primary election, memory-card failures struck 15 machines around the county, causing 1,552 ballots to be scanned later, rather than at the precinct.
The main reason for some long lines today? "The six-page ballot," McFall said.
Also, at some voting locations, such as the Chisholm Center in DeLand, there are multiple precincts, which can add some delay, she said.
Lines have been short and moving quickly at other polling places.
Polling places will be open until 7 p.m. this evening. To locate your precinct and voting place, go to the Elections Office website.
— Pat Andrews
Voter turnout strong in West Volusia
REPORTED EARLIER: Volusia County voters are out in full force today. The precinct at the Chisholm Community Center had a line around the building. People patiently waited to cast their votes.
At West Volusia's Republican Headquaters Becky Anderson took a break from answering phone calls to talk with Joe Proudfoot. Proudfoot had stopped in on his bike ride to his precinct, which is in Orange City.
"I can't believe Roseanne Barr is on the ballot, what a joke," Proudfoot said.
Meanwhile, across town at West Volusia's Democratic Headquarters, volunteers were busy answering phone calls and directing people who showed up to help. Karen Zimmer and Kevin Winchell could barely get away from the phone.
"We are extremely busy today. We are retrieving reports every two hours from the elections office, of registered voters who've not yet voted," Zimmer said.
The staff at the Democratic Headquarters plans to call the people on the list who have not yet voted and remind them that today is the day to vote, as well as offer them rides to precincts if needed.
— Sarahrose Ministeri
Long voting line in Orange City
Orange City voters were out this morning, ready to cast their ballots.
Beacon sales representative Jan Giroux commented that there were hundreds of people patiently waiting at Dickinson Memorial Library.
"There must have been 200 people waiting, at least. I just drove by and I was just astonished by the number of people there. They were circled around the building waiting to vote," Giroux said.
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