Board: Votes cast during court-ordered extended voting will count

Hours extended after Winter Park library shut down for suspicious packages


WINTER PARK, Fla. – An Orange County canvassing board decided on Monday that all provisional ballots that were cast at the Winter Park library on Sunday will count towards the 2012 Presidential election.

The decision was made at a Monday meeting to discuss the court-ordered extended early voting.

"This will mean they now have a sense of satisfaction of knowing their ballot has already been counted," said Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles.

332 provisional ballots were cast on Sunday during 4-hour voting extension. The Orange County bomb squad shut down Winter Park library on Saturday for hours after two suspicious packages were found, causing the democrats to sue for extended voting hours.

Republicans had threatened to appeal the court-ruled 4-hour extension, but decided not to, agreeing the judge's decision was reasonable.

The suspicious packages were later found to be safe.

The canvassing board is made up Orange County Judge Nancy Clark, Orange County Judge Faye Allen and Orange County Commissioner Tiffany Moore-Russell.

The board also went through hundreds of questionable absentee ballots, rejecting ballots that did not have a signature and deciding if others with signatures matched signatures on file.

Cowles said on average less than 2% of all absentee ballots are not counted because of signature problems. Already the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office has received more than 117,000 absentee ballots.

Cowles also told Local 6 voters who go to the polls on Tuesday shouldn't bring a camera and shouldn't use their cellphones as a camera. Despite mailers and emails going around telling voters to send in pictures of illegal activity they see, Florida law doesn't allow picture-taking at the polls.

More than a third of Florida's registered voters have already voted, either by absentee ballot or during the state's shortened early-voting process, according to early voting statistics compiled by George Mason University.

Watch Local 6 for more on this story.