By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
WASHINGTON, NOVEMBER 8As the presidential recount continues, there are increased reports of voting irregularities in Florida. The most recent concerned what appeared to be a locked ballot box that was somehow left behind in a church day care center in Dade County, a southern county where support for Democrat Al Gore is strong.
CNN reported at midafternoon that the ballot box was actually full of supplies.
Another report has a similar locked ballot box turning up in Palm Beach, another area where Gore is strong.
In a third instance, hundreds of voters in Palm Beach County have complained to local elections officials that they feared they had mistakenly cast a vote for Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan instead of Gore, whom they had wanted to back. Reason: The voters blamed the punch ballot, which positioned the names of Gore and Buchanan across from one another, and said they were unsure whether they had consequently voted for the wrong candidate or the right one. (View the ballot here.)
Although election officials discounted this report, it could turn out to be significant because Buchanan chalked up about 3400 votes in the Palm Beach area and about 17,300 statewide, more than enough to affect the outcome.
What raises suspicions in this case is that statewide, Buchanan polled at zero percent. But in Palm Beach County, a predominantly Democratic area, he drew 1 percent.
His Palm Beach totals far outpace his average showing of about 400 in precincts statewide. The fact that Palm Beach is heavily Jewish makes it even less likely that Buchanan would draw so many votes there.
According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, a wire service, Florida Jews are circulating a petition calling for a second vote, because they believe the first was tainted.
Meanwhile, the Gore campaign is sending attorneys into Florida to investigate potential irregularities in Palm Beach. Increasingly, the election seems likely to be decided in court.