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{{tncms-inline alignment=”left” content=”&lt;p class=&quot;p1&quot;&gt;&lt;span class=&quot;s1&quot;&gt;&lt;em&gt;Deltona candidate misses avoiding a runoff by four votes&lt;br /&gt; &lt;/em&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class=&quot;p2&quot;&gt;&lt;span class=&quot;s2&quot;&gt;Ninety-seven provisional ballots accepted at the Aug. 30 meeting changed the outcome of a close Deltona race.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class=&quot;p2&quot;&gt;&lt;span class=&quot;s2&quot;&gt;On election night, Bob McFall, a candidate for the District 4 seat on the Deltona City Commission, appeared to avoid a runoff by one vote.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class=&quot;p2&quot;&gt;&lt;span class=&quot;s2&quot;&gt;After the 97 ballots were added, McFall fell four votes under the 50-percent mark.&lt;span class=&quot;Apple-converted-space&quot;&gt;&amp;nbsp;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class=&quot;p2&quot;&gt;&lt;span class=&quot;s2&quot;&gt;McFall was on hand to witness the ballots being counted, along with his wife, former Volusia County Supervisor of Elections Ann McFall.&lt;span class=&quot;Apple-converted-space&quot;&gt;&amp;nbsp;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class=&quot;p2&quot;&gt;&lt;span class=&quot;s2&quot;&gt;While the result wasn&amp;rsquo;t the one he wanted, he expressed confidence in the process.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class=&quot;p2&quot;&gt;&lt;span class=&quot;s2&quot;&gt;&amp;ldquo;The process is actually the right one,&amp;rdquo; McFall said. &amp;ldquo;I know all the votes got counted that needed to get counted, and that was my main thing tonight, that all the votes &amp;mdash; provisional and everything &amp;mdash; got correctly counted. I&amp;rsquo;m looking forward to November.&amp;rdquo;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class=&quot;p2&quot;&gt;&lt;span class=&quot;s2&quot;&gt;McFall and Ruben Munoz, the second-place finisher, will be in a runoff on the Tuesday, Nov. 6, ballot.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class=&quot;p2&quot;&gt;&lt;span class=&quot;s2&quot;&gt;McFall said he didn&amp;rsquo;t plan to challenge the result in court.&lt;span class=&quot;Apple-converted-space&quot;&gt;&amp;nbsp;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class=&quot;p2&quot;&gt;&lt;span class=&quot;s2&quot;&gt;He said the situation reminded him of what his daughter, former Deltona City Commissioner Michele McFall-Conte, went through in 2001, when she won an election tie that was decided by the flip of a coin.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class=&quot;p2&quot;&gt;&lt;span class=&quot;s2&quot;&gt;The 97 ballots counted by the Canvassing Board Aug. 30 had provisional status for a number of reasons, such as voters voting in the wrong precinct, or voters who insisted on voting a ballot for a political party they weren&amp;rsquo;t registered with.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class=&quot;p2&quot;&gt;&lt;span class=&quot;s2&quot;&gt;In the latter case, the board accepted the ballots, but counted only the votes in nonpartisan races &amp;mdash; not the party primaries the voters weren&amp;rsquo;t eligible to help decide.&lt;span class=&quot;Apple-converted-space&quot;&gt;&amp;nbsp;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class=&quot;p2&quot;&gt;&lt;span class=&quot;s2&quot;&gt;Florida has a closed primary system, in which only members of a political party can vote in that party&amp;rsquo;s primary elections.&lt;span class=&quot;Apple-converted-space&quot;&gt;&amp;nbsp;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class=&quot;p2&quot;&gt;&lt;span class=&quot;s2&quot;&gt;In one case, a voter was thought to have cast a ballot in the wrong precinct but, in reality, the Elections Department made an error keying in the voter&amp;rsquo;s address.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class=&quot;p2&quot;&gt;&lt;span class=&quot;s2&quot;&gt;The voter lives on Saxon Boulevard in Deltona, but Elections Department records showed the individual living on Saxon Boulevard in Orange City.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p class=&quot;p3&quot;&gt;&lt;span class=&quot;s2&quot;&gt;&lt;em&gt;&amp;mdash; Anthony DeFeo&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/p&gt;” id=”9ebb6756-738f-4a48-a4ff-00c944b35cc7″ style-type=”info” title=”Provisional ballots change McFall’s one-vote win” type=”relcontent” width=”half”}}

A tub of 300 mail-in ballots was placed on the wrong rack and not counted at the Volusia County Elections Office on Election Day.

The mishap didn’t change the outcome of the Aug. 28 primary. The ballots were counted Aug. 30, when the Volusia County Canvassing Board met.

“When we were archiving the empty envelopes [from vote-by-mail ballots] yesterday, we discovered this tub on the same rack,” Supervisor of Elections Lisa Lewis said at the Aug. 30 meeting. “It should have been on the tabulating rack; however, it was put on the empty-envelope rack. It was an oversight — a human error.”

The mistake was discovered on election night, when staff members noticed the “number of people signed in to vote did not match the number of ballots,” Lewis said.

While processing mail-in ballots, staff members place the empty envelopes in one place, and the actual ballots in another place. A Department of Elections staff member evidently placed the ballots in the wrong spot.

The 300 misplaced ballots all originated from DeLand-area voters. 

About two dozen people — mainly candidates, representatives of political parties, and journalists —  packed the lower level of the Volusia County Historic Courthouse to witness the mislaid ballots being counted.

Judge Christopher Kelly, chairman of the Canvassing Board, reflected on the crowd at the meeting, which ran nearly six hours.

“I wish we had people watching here every day what goes on, and the checks and balances that are in place, because some of the things that do come up, we know about them because of the checks and balances,” he said. “When all is said and done, I have great confidence that the votes that are taking place are being recorded accurately.”

While the winners and losers of the election did not change once the ballots were counted, 300 votes could have potentially swung the result in several contests.

In the race for the District 1 seat on the Volusia County Council, the second- and third-place finishers were incumbent Pat Patterson, with 6,310 votes on election night, and Jeff Brower, with 6,101 votes. 

The margin between Patterson and Brower was 209 votes, and the newfound ballots could have changed who first-place finisher Barb Girtman would face in the November runoff.

Girtman, who had 6,689 votes on election night and gained 95 votes after the Canvassing Board’s final count, will face Patterson Nov. 6.

Patterson, who has run for elected office many times since the mid-1990s, wasn’t particularly fazed by the ballot mishap.

“It’s a little disconcerting to a candidate … but you’re going to have some hiccup in there,” he said. “I’m sure there are people who are going to rip poor Lisa [Lewis]’s pants off, but she does a good job.”

Patterson has seen the other side of the coin a few times, as a member of the Canvassing Board.

“It’s a hectic process,” he said. “Really, as a candidate, you’ve just got to keep your cool.”

In the Republican primary for District 26 in the Florida House of Representatives, Elizabeth Fetterhoff appeared to beat Michael Cantu by a mere 60 votes on election night, with 5,683 votes to Cantu’s 5,623. 

After all was said and done Aug. 30, the gap widened to 81 votes, with Fetterhoff having 5,746 votes to Cantu’s 5,665.

Despite being in a close race, Fetterhoff wasn’t too concerned about the mix-up. 

“My thing is, it’s human error. Things happen,” she said. “Maybe look at the system of how they keep track of the boxes, and just make sure every vote counts, and moving forward, just make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

“Like I said, it’s human error,” she added. “Sometimes, these things happen.”


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