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108,000 voted early, mailed ballots

Posted on Saturday, November 12, 2016 at 8:00 am

By Ken Jackson
Staff Writer
The results of Tuesday’s election were quite possibly a changing of the times — and that has just about nothing to do with the person who won the White House.
After a multitude of problems with the 2012 election caused locally by an extremely long

A supporter for President Elect Donald Trump stands out in front of the Kissimmee Civic Center on election day. News Gazette photo/Martin Maddock

A supporter for President Elect Donald Trump stands out in front of the Kissimmee Civic Center on election day. News Gazette photo/Martin Maddock

ballot and issues with those who had an absentee ballot and tried to vote in person, Tuesday morning, afternoon and night went “refreshingly smoothly” for Supervisor of Elections Mary Jane Arrington and her staff.
A total of 142,471 ballots were cast in the General Election for a healthy 72.57 percent. But 108,306 of them were processed during the nearly two-week early voting period, or through voting by mail, which alone accounted for over 45,000 of them. That number delighted Arrington.
“We’ve marketed voting by mail as the best and easiest way to vote,” she said. “If we could we’d have everybody vote by mail, and we’d sit here and verify signatures.
“Colorado has the best system: they mail everyone a ballot, and people can vote that way or go into a precinct, which they call a ‘polling center.’”
Tuesday went smoother than the last presidential election in 2012, when large, amendment-filled ballots jammed or slowed tabulation machines slowed — the last voters at one Kissimmee location waited until 11 p.m. — and citizens who (possibly unknowingly) arranged for an absentee ballot tried voting in person tied up phone lines at the SOE office removing holds for those voters.
“We didn’t have any of those calls (tonight),” Arrington said.
Only 34,000 or so ballots were cast or processed on Tuesday — 38,262 were cast total in the August primary — and by 8:15 p.m., 75 minutes after polls were closed, all but four of the county’s 88 voting precincts had reported results. Early in the day, a tabulation machine at the Robert Guevara Center in BVL reported a glitch, and another machine at the St. Cloud Civic Center gave problems.
But all results were in before 9:30.
“We thought more people would come out (election day), but we always think that, and prepare for that,” Arrington said.