Election official quits Broward County board


Associated Press

PLANTATION, Fla. – Broward County elections supervisor Jane Carroll, the only Republican on the county’s three-member canvassing board, quit today, saying she could not handle the long days.

Carroll, who was elected in 1968 and intended to retire from her elections supervisor post at the end of this term, said her resignation was effective at the end of today – which will put a halt to the hand counting here unless she’s quickly replaced.

“I’ve given this a lot of thought,” said Carroll, 70. “Physically I cannot continue 15-hour days. I have to think of my health. I don’t feel well. I can handle a few 24 hour days, some 15 hour days, but not in a row.”

Canvassing board members were meeting with their attorneys to determine how to replace Carroll, who was going on vacation Tuesday.

Ballots from 515 of the county’s 609 precincts had been recounted by today. Al Gore had gained a net 119 votes over last week’s official tallies, though it remained unknown whether the hand-counted results will be added to those numbers because of legal wrangling. Republican George W. Bush holds a 930-vote lead over Gore in the official state tally.

Carroll’s departure effectively puts a halt to the review of all questionable ballots in the Democratic-leaning Broward, since the full three-person canvassing board is required to look at them.

She does not have to be replaced by a Republican.

The other two members of the canvassing board are Circuit Judge Robert W. Lee, a Democrat, and Suzanne Gunzburger, a Democrat and chair of the seven-member county commission who will nominate another commissioner to replace Carroll. It wasn’t clear how quickly this could happen.

Possible replacements could include another member of the county commission – all seven of whom are Democrats – or a county judge.

Since the manual recounting began, workers have set aside questionable ballots with partially removed or dimpled chads – the tiny pieces of paper in the perforated punchcard ballots. To be considered valid ballots, they all must be reviewed by the three-member canvassing board.

It was not immediately known how many ballots would be subject to such a review, but the initial results from machine tabulations last week showed more than 6,000 “undervotes,” or ballots with unclear selections.

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