counting ballots
Canvassing Board Member and Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine on the right with Senior Assistant County Attorney and General Counsel for the Broward County Supervisor of Elections. {courtesy}

By Sharon Aron Baron

With over 555,000 vote-by-mail ballots sent out so far, Broward County’s Canvassing Board is now is in the process of tabulating them.

But not all ballots are problem-free.

The canvassing board made up of Supervisor of Elections Peter Antonacci, Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine, and County Judge Kenneth Gottlieb, processes and examines ballots to determine the official returns in the 2020 election —which includes tabulating every vote.

“We are getting in about 10,000 mail-ins per day,” said Udine. “As they come in, they are opened in a secure area with observers.”

If the ballot is missing a signature, Udine said the voter gets an email or a phone call and given a chance to correct it.

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Once corrected, the ballots are then run through the tabulating machines with the others. However, for one reason or another, some ballots won’t go through.

“Let say a ballot gets wet in the mail, maybe it won’t run through the machine, so it needs to be duped.”

Once duped — or duplicated — the ballot must be rechecked by the canvassing board to make sure the machine does it sufficiently.

Udine said that a duped ballot sounds more sinister than it is — but this procedure only occurs when the ballot is wet, ripped, or sometimes there’s a stray mark on it — then the machine kicks it out.

After duplication, the ballot is then made available for public inspection by all political parties. After this, it is then entered into a tabulating machine.  If there are any objections to the duped ballots, those go to the full canvassing board for review.

“It’s a huge process and extremely important to ensure the integrity of the election,” said Udine, who is in his second year as a canvassing board member.

This process all takes time. Each day, a member of the canvassing board is at the Supervisor of Elections office, where Udine was working on Saturday, and Gottlieb will be working on Sunday.

“The key is —- and the reason the office had issues in 2018 — is you must get to zero each night — or at least before election day because 10,000 additional vote-by-mail ballots will come in and it can overwhelm the system.”

As the election gets closer, the canvassing board will meet three to four times a week.

“Then, it gets crazy.”

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Sharon Aron Baron
Sharon Aron Baron is a Parkland resident and editor of Talk Media. She has been covering Parkland news since 2012. Parkland Talk was created to provide News, Views, and Entertainment for the residents of Parkland.

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