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Atlantis recount quick to make results official

By Sarah Eisenhauer, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 14, 2004

WEST PALM BEACH The margin of victory in one Atlantis City Council race was extremely slim, but not small enough for a single ballot to make any difference.

So after reviewing only one absentee ballot in a manual recount Saturday afternoon, the Palm Beach County Elections Canvassing Board agreed that incumbent Lester Fields' victory against Eric Mangione by four votes is "certified as stands."

Fields had 413 votes to Mangione's 409 in Tuesday night's results, a difference of 0.48 percent. There were 42 "undervotes," which are ballots marked for neither candidate.

Because the victory was less than 0.5 percent, a state-mandated machine recount was conducted Wednesday and produced the same results.

At first, Mangione said he didn't plan to request a manual recount. The 42 undervotes in his race were "strange," he said, but he didn't have a problem with the county's new touch-screen voting.

Then Friday afternoon, after some persuasion from friends, Mangione officially requested one even though Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore informed him the board had only one paper absentee ballot to review.

"We all agree he's entitled to it," Palm Beach County Judge Barry Cohen, a member of the canvassing board, said at the start of the review.

The single paper "undervote" in the race showed a vote for incumbent Fred Furtado in the first of three Atlantis races on the ballot, and no votes in the other two. No other marks were on the ballot.

"It was clear this person only wanted to vote in this one race," LePore said.

Mangione, who has also turned down an offer from U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler's office to join in a lawsuit challenging paperless voting, did not attend the manual recount. He could not be reached for comment Saturday.


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