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Broward County elections officials audit primary results  (FL)

Juan Ortega   South Florida Sun-Sentinel   04 September 2008

Broward County election officials played a game of chance Wednesday, using poker chips to decide which ballots from last week's primary election to audit.

County Judge Sharon Zeller shook a white box with 30 yellow chips, each numbered with a red sticker. As Zeller, one of three Broward Canvassing Board members, held up the box, the No. 4 chip accidentally fell to the floor.

"That's the one!" Zeller said.

She and other officials then consulted a list of federal, state and local races, each of which had a number randomly assigned to it. "Four" indicated the countywide race for public defender.

The Canvassing Board's use of poker chips resulted from a state law that took effect this year. The law required a portion of results from a "randomly ed" race to be manually audited, but it didn't say how a random ion should be conducted. Officials initially considered bingo balls, but they ultimately opted for the chips.

About 32 employees from the Broward Supervisor of Elections Office then conducted a three-hour manual audit of results from 16 of the race's 779 precincts, or about 2 percent. Of the 16 chosen precincts picked by drawing pieces of paper from a box nine mirrored machine results while the other seven resembled original results by 95 percent or more.

"When you're dealing with people and paper, that's the best you're going to get," Zeller said.

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