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Atlantis candidate asks for recount

By George Bennett, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 13, 2004

Atlantis city council candidate Eric Mangione has changed his mind and decided to seek a manual recount after losing a Tuesday election by four votes.

The recount, scheduled for 1 p.m. today, won't change the election's outcome. Because most of the ballots were cast on paperless electronic voting machines, the Palm Beach County elections canvassing board will have only one paper absentee ballot to examine.

Incumbent Lester Fields topped Mangione 413-409 in Tuesday night returns. There were 42 "undervotes," which are ballots not marked for either candidate.

Because Fields won by less than 0.5 percent, a state-mandated machine recount was conducted Wednesday. It produced the same results.

Mangione played tennis rather than attend Wednesday's recount and said that, although he was entitled to ask for a manual recount, he didn't plan to pursue the matter further. He changed his mind after several friends called Thursday.

"They said 'you've got to be stupid not to ask for a manual recount,' " Mangione said Friday.

Under the state's manual recount law, the canvassing board must inspect all undervotes and "overvotes," which are ballots that tabulating machines rejected because voters ed more than one candidate.

There were no overvotes in the Fields-Mangione race. All but one of the 42 undervotes were cast on paperless electronic machines. The other undervote was on a paper absentee ballot. The canvassing board will look at it to see if there are any markings that indicate a clear choice by the voter for a candidate.

The Fields-Mangione contest was the last of three council races on the Atlantis ballot. The other races produced 13 and 21 undervotes.

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