Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How the Power Outage Affects Florida's Special Election

By now you know there's a power outage in Florida. I'm about 2 miles west of the affected area that extends from the east coast to Central Florida's inland.

There are major losses of power from Miami to Jacksonville and from Tampa to Tallahassee. Two-thirds of the state is experiencing at least some outage including the area that covers Florida state house district 32 where the Special Election is being held to replace disgraced Bob Allen.

Here's what the Brevard County elections supervisor (which is the largest part of the district) had to say about how they'll handle this:

This afternoon's power outage has struck at least two polling sites but won't stop voting in today's special election, officials say.

"We never, ever stop voting," said Brevard County Supervisor of Elections Fred Galey.

About 70,000 voters in 55 Brevard precincts are choosing among three candidates for the Florida House District 32 seat. Galey said the sites that lost power were in Merritt Island and Titusville, but did not provide precinct numbers.

Voting machines will run on battery power for about two hours, he said. If the machines stop working, ballots would be placed in emergency pockets and be counted once power is restored.

Thank goodness the touch screen machines are gone from Florida. Brevard uses optical scanning for its ballots so anyone who casts a ballot can be sure it will be counted. That's why this should be a national law. Anything like this can happen anywhere.

Of course, you have to be able to get to the polls to vote. Now that the rain and high winds have moved in, 4-ways stops instead of lights at every intersection make that highly unlikely.