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Teacher reports finding ballot box left behind at Broward County polling place

Susannah Bryan, Sun Sentinel on

Published in News & Features

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Teacher Lakeisha Sorey said she discovered a locked ballot box Thursday afternoon at Sunshine Elementary School in Miramar.

Sorey said she found the box about 3 p.m. in the same area where voting had been held, and knew not to meddle with it.

"I didn't want to touch it," Sorey said.

Her discovery came as several statewide races hang in the balance, with elections officials in Broward and Palm Beach counties still counting votes Thursday.

Seeking help, Sorey phoned her friend, state Rep. Shevrin Jones, a West Park Democrat and close confidante of gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum.

Jones called the Broward Supervisor of Elections Office, and a woman there told him the box was probably full of blank ballots, he said. If that's the case, Jones is questioning why the box is locked.

Jones wasn't sure whether anyone from the Elections Office was planning to head to the school Thursday night to retrieve the box. He's worried the box might contain ballots that are not being counted, Jones said.

"I was shocked about it," he said. "I don't think you'd lock up extra ballot paper. I'm hoping someone will at least go verify and make sure there are no ballots inside the box."

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A spokesman from the elections office could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Sorey took a photo of the box, a large gray bin with a slot on top and a paper affixed to its side that reads, "Provisional Ballot Box."

Provisional ballots are those where the voter's eligibility is in question because, for example, the person lacked the proper identification at the polls. Such voters were given until 5 p.m. Thursday to clear up the issue so the ballot can be counted. In an extremely close race, provisional ballots could make a difference in who wins.

State law requires a recount if the race is closer than 0.5 percent, and it appears a recount may be required for several races, including that of governor, U.S. Senate and state agriculture commissioner.

(c)2018 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

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