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Vote-less ballots worry Broward Democrats

Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - There weren't many choices to make in Broward County elections last week, but 169 ballots without votes in the Democratic presidential primary are causing some worries.

Nearly half of the ballots without primary votes were in precincts with large elderly populations. Democratic Party leaders are concerned it's a sign of trouble for November.

At the rate seen in Tuesday's primary, about 4,000 ballots would go without votes in the general election in a Democratic stronghold beset by election problems since the 2000 presidential election.

"That's a frightening statistic," Mitch Ceasar, chairman of the county's Democratic Party. "We have a large number of folks who are elderly and not comfortable with these machines."

Senior-only communities accounted for four of the top five polling locations with the heaviest undervoting, according to a representative sampling by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. While the countywide average undervote was about 1 percent, the rate in retirement community precincts ranged from 2.9 percent to 5.7 percent.

"That's too many undervotes," said Amadeo "Trinchi" Trinchitella, an 87-year-old Deerfield Beach city commissioner who represents the sprawling retirement community of Century Village East. "Some of our people are elderly, sick, whatever. But it doesn't matter. We have a right to vote, and I think there should be every safeguard."

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