PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) – The tabulation machines at the Palm Beach elections headquarters in Riviera Beach are back up and running after a mechanical problem shut some of them down.
Tuesday afternoon some of the outdated machines overheated and stopped working, mechanics were flown in to fix them.
The overheating caused mismatched results in the recount of the ballots in the U.S. Senate race.
Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher said they lost a day and a half due to the issue and will have to recount nearly 175-thousand ballots.
Bucher said she is in “prayer mode” hoping that they finish counting ballots by the Thursday 3 p.m. deadline.
170,000 early votes had to be counted again, after the machines broke down Tuesday night improperly tallied the ballots.
“I am working as hard as I can and I can’t give anymore,” Bucher said. “This is our democracy and I am here to count every vote and I will take the time that’s required. You can see I haven’t been home for three days. I don’t think you’re going to find somebody else that has the dedication. I’ve experienced a lot this election. I continue to work as hard as I can. I have a staff that I’d go to war with.”
Bucher told reporters she is “doing everything humanly possible” to make sure every vote is counted.
She said new equipment would cost more than $11 million, but she put off buying it because the equipment would not be viable two years from now due to changes in the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“I do have $11.1 million in my budget to purchase the equipment. I would like to comply with future law if I’m gonna spend that kind of money. I don’t think it’s very responsible to spend $11 million dollars on new equipment that’s not gonna be viable in 2020,” Bucher said.
Bucher had said previously that she could not meet Thursday’s 3 p.m. deadline. Now it seems clear that the mechanical troubles will further complicate things.
“It’s very frustrating for everybody involved that we’re faced with this problem,” said Jim Bonfiglio, a Democratic candidate for the Florida House of Representatives District 89.
Bonfiglio, a Democrat from Ocean Ridge who ran for state legislature, sued the Florida Secretary of State in Tallahassee to get the Thursday recount deadline pushed back.
A Leon County judge ordered that Palm Beach County elections officials be given until Nov. 27 to complete their recounts.
However, Judge Karen Gievers’ decision to lift Thursday’s 3 p.m. deadline in Palm Beach County was trumped when Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner petitioned to move the case to federal court.
This was not the only suit filed to get an extension. Senator Bill Nelson, who is being challenged by Governor Rick Scott for the Senate seat, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Tallahassee asking that all elections supervisors in the state be given more time to recount ballots.
A federal judge in Tallahassee, who is hearing challenges on the statewide recount deadline, gave all sides until 5 p.m. Wednesday to explain why the county’s deadline should or shouldn’t be extended.