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Palm Beach County Holds Vote

January 9, 2001

SOUTH PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ There was no butterfly ballot to contend with as this Palm Beach County town held an election Tuesday for the first time since the problem-plagued presidential race.

The stakes were decidedly lower than in November. Voters in the retirement community of 1,800 people faced only one question: Should the town council elect the mayor from among its members?

``There’s only two holes,″ said voter Lee Zimmerman. ``How can you miss?″

Palm Beach County’s two-winged ballot became a focus in last fall’s contested presidential election. Some voters said they were confused because candidates’ names were placed to the left and right of punch holes instead of on one side.

Overall, roughly 19,000 of the county’s ballots were never counted because voters chose more than one presidential candidate.

Another 10,000 ballots weren’t counted because voters didn’t completely punch a hole for their candidate.

On Tuesday, while a task force of lawmakers in Tallahassee discussed changing the way Floridians vote, South Palm Beach election worker Bud Krasnow urged residents to be careful. While the ballot was much simpler to read, the Votomatic machines were the same as the ones used in November.

``Check the chad,″ Krasnow told a woman after she poked a sharp stylus into a ballot at one of four voting machines in the town hall library.

``I don’t even know what a chad is,″ the woman said, then turned to another voter and asked, ``Do you know what a chad is?″

``I certainly do now,″ the voter replied.

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