County approves committee to oversee sales tax projects

Palm Beach County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to establish a 19-member committee that will oversee projects paid for with money from the sales tax increase voters approved last month.

The committee members, to be selected by commissioners and various community organizations, must be Palm Beach County residents and would serve three-year terms.

The sales tax increase is expected to generate $2.7 billion over the next decade to repair roads, bridges, schools and county-owned buildings. Half of the money would go to the School District of Palm Beach County. The county gets 30 percent, and cities would get the remaining 20 percent.

Check back with http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com later today for more on this story.

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Palm Beach County elections chief Bucher: poll-watcher shoved me during canvassing board audit

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Canvassing board counts ballots on Election Night, Nov. 8. (The Palm Beach Post/Damon Higgins)

The poll-watcher who was booted during the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board’s Nov. 18 election audit had entered a secured area and had shoved Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher, she says in a response letter.

Bucher told Raymond Lutz, national coordinator for Southern California-based Citizens’ Oversight Projects, she could have had him arrested for battery and for interrupting an official government process, but that she settled for having deputies remove him.

In the 2-page letter, dated Friday, she said Lutz edited out that part when he posted videos suggesting elections officials violated Florida open meetings laws during the audit.

A Palm Beach County Sheriff’s report says the deputy watched as Bucher ordered Lutz out and issued him a trespass warning and said Lutz then left without incident.

Bucher said she’d told Lutz in a Nov. 14 email that audits are open and that the elections office videotapes them. The supervisor said that as a legislator in 2007, she helped draft the rules for such audits, and that his insinuations that the canvassing board manipulated the audit are “not only untrue and insulting, but baseless.”

To read more, go later to mypalmbeachpost.com.

County thanks voters for approving increase in sales tax

Palm Beach County is offering thanks to county residents who earlier this month voted to approve a 10-year increase in the sales tax from 6 cents on the dollar to 7 cents on the dollar.

That thank you is carried on the county’s redesigned website, where residents get a breakdown of how the roughly $2.7 billion in additional sales tax money will be distributed.

The county will get 30 percent of the money, which it plans to spend rebuilding parks, roads, bridges and county buildings. Cities will get 20 percent, and the School District of Palm Beach County will get the remaining 50 percent.

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Boca Raton Unitarians make good on threat to withdraw as voting site in mosque controversy

Bucher
Bucher

A Unitarian congregation in Boca Raton has made it official, withdrawing as a voting site to protest Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher’s pulling a polling place out of a Boca Raton mosque.20161112-bucher-letter-withdrawal

On Wednesday, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Boca Raton forwarded to reporters a formal letter of withdrawal that it sent Bucher on Nov. 12.

“We are saddened that it has come to this. Religious discrimination, and Islamophobia in particular, have been increasing dramatically, even more so since the election,” the group’s secretary, Charlie Cormier, said in an email to reporters. “We had hoped that our county government would not succumb to pressure from

Islamic Center of Boca Raton
Islamic Center of Boca Raton

that segment of our community. We continue to hope that other government offices resist similar pressures in the future.”

 

The group — which said it has served as a polling place for decades, most recently for precinct 4160 — had threatened on Aug. 21 to withdraw after the election if Bucher did not restore the mosque in time for the Nov. 8 vote, which she didn’t. It said its rules forbid to rent to any group that discriminates.

Bucher earlier this summer had selected Islamic Center of Boca Raton, at 3480 N.W. Fifth Ave. near Florida Atlantic University, then decided in July not to use it after she received as many as 50 calls advising her to move the site, with some callers warning her they’d try to block voting or even would call in a bomb threat in order to clear the building.

After the move, Bucher told The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board she felt she had to move the site “when we had a heightened threat that they (phone callers) were going to impede voters. I was very disappointed in our community and saw we have a lot of work to do.”

Bucher’s office didn’t immediately comment Wednesday on the Unitarians’ action.

Palm Tran offers free rides to polls Tuesday; 368 take advantage

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UPDATE, noon Nov. 9: Palm Tran says 368 people used the free Palm Tran rides to the polls on Tuesday.

Palm Tran, Palm Beach County’s public transportation system, says it will offer free rides Tuesday for people to vote.

You must present a valid voter information card when boarding.

The offer is valid for all 35 routes system-wide throughout Palm Beach County for the entire day, but isn’t valid for use on Palm Tran Connection, which provides call-ahead bus service for the elderly, disabled and ill.

Palm Beach County voters will cast ballots for president as well as 36 other federal, state and local races and seven referenda, including four amendments to the Florida Constitution and a Palm Beach County sales tax increase.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday for 868 precincts at 461 polling locations, according to the county supervisor of elections.

Bring your voter registration card and a form of photo identification. Your polling place is shown on your voter registration card, or you can find it at pbcelections.org/precinctfinder.aspx

Palm Beach County early voting nearly double that for 2012; 6.4mm voted statewide

031316-met-early-voting-02Nearly a quarter million people took part in early voting in advance of Tuesday’s election, nearly twice as many as did in 2012, according to unofficial overnight numbers from the county’s Supervisor of Elections.

Sunday, the last day of the 14-day event, was the busiest. The 23,091 coming to the county’s 15 sites represented nearly 10 percent of the total of 242,017.

That compares to a total of 124,896 locally in eight days of early voting in the 2012 election.

According to the state Division of Elections, 380,048 people in Palm Beach County have cast ballots either by mail-in or early voting. Of those voting by mail, Democrats lead Republicans 68,193 to 41,288. Of those voting early, Democrats lead GOP voters 112,021 to 66,932 .

Statewide, more than 6.4 million Florida voters have cast ballots, with Democrats casting 87,249 more than Republicans.

To read more, go later to mypalmbeachpost.com.

 

More than 300,000 have voted in Palm Beach County, 5 million-plus statewide

031316-met-early-voting-02Nearly 19,000 people voted early Thursday in Palm Beach County, topping the previous high set Wednesday for the 14-day event, which ends Sunday.

Thursday’s figure of 18,867 brings the total so far to 178,062, according to overnight statistics from the county’s Supervisor of Elections.

That compares to a total of 124,896 locally in eight days of early voting in the 2012 election.

In all, 304,120 in Palm Beach County have cast ballots for the Nov. 8 election, either by early voting or by mail-in, through Friday morning, according to the Florida Division of Elections.

Nearly 5.3 million Floridians have either voted by mail or cast ballots at in-person early voting sites in advance of Tuesday’s election, according to this morning’s report from the Florida Division of Elections. That far surpasses the 4.8 million who voted before Election Day in 2012, according to state figures. In 2012, 3.8 million voted on Election Day itself

Statewide, either early or by mail-in, Republicans have cast 2,093,586 ballots, or 39.74 percent, and Democrats have cast 2,091,753 ballots, or 39.71 percent. That’s a difference between the parties of 1,833 ballots or 0.03 percent of all the votes cast so far.

In Palm Beach County, according to state figures, for mail-ins, Democrats led 62,395 to 37,863. In state early-voting stats, which don’t exactly match those posted locally, Democrats led 83,410 to 50,650.

While early voting ends Saturday in most Florida counties, it runs through Sunday at Palm Beach County’s 15 sites, as well as in Bay, Bradford, Broward, Charlotte, Duval, Hillsborough, Leon, Miami-Dade, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Seminole, St. Lucie and Suwannee counties.

Wednesday was largest 1-day total of early voting in Palm Beach County

031316-met-early-voting-02More than 18,000 people voted early Wednesday in Palm Beach County, marking the largest one-day total after the first 10 days of the 14-day event and bringing the total so far to nearly 160,000, according to overnight statistics from the county’s Supervisor of Elections.

That compares to a total of 124,896 locally in eight days of early voting in the 2012 election.

Through Thursday morning, nearly 4.9 million Floridians, nearly 280,000 of those in Palm Beach County, have voted early or by mail for the Nov. 8 election, according to the Florida Division of Elections.

That already surpasses the 4.8 million who voted before Election Day in 2012, according to state figures. In 2012, 3.8 million voted on Election Day itself.

Statewide, of those mailing in this year, Republicans led Democrats  949,527 to 874,500. But of those voting early, Democrats have passed the 1 million mark, leading GOP voters 1,061,740 to 998,599.

In Palm Beach County mail-ins, Democrats led 59,687 to 36,137. In state early-voting stats, which don’t exactly match those posted locally, Democrats led 75,066 to 45,481.

Early voting runs through Sunday at 15 sites around the county.

To see a sample ballot for your races, or for more information, contact the elections office at 561-656-6200 or visit www.pbcelections.org.

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More than 4.5 million have voted in Florida; 250,000 in Palm Beach County

031316-met-early-voting-02Through Tuesday, 140,000 people have taken part in the first nine days of 14 days of early voting in Palm Beach County, according to overnight statistics from the county’s Supervisor of Elections.

That compares to a total of 124,896 locally in eight days of early voting in the 2012 election.

Through Wednesday morning, nearly 4.5 million Floridians, more than 250,000 of those in Palm Beach County, have voted early or by mail for the Nov. 8 election, according to the Florida Division of Elections.

That already nearly equals the 4.8 million who voted up to Election Day in 2012, according to state figures. In 2012, 3.8 million voted on Election Day itself.

Of those mailing in this year, Republicans lead Democrats 909,299 to 835,206. Of those voting early, the GOP trails 889,655 to 946,292.

In Palm Beach County mail-ins, Democrats lead 55,860 to 33,616. In state early-voting stats, which don’t exactly match those posted locally, Democrats lead 66,871 to 40,330.

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More than 4 million Floridians already have voted

Early voting Friday at Hagen Ranch Rd. branch
Early voting Friday at Hagen Ranch Rd. branch

In eight days of early voting in Palm Beach County in the 2012 election, 124,896 people participated.

Through Monday night, totals for eight days of early voting for this year are just shy of that, at 124,030, according to unofficial figures from the county’s Supervisor of Elections.

The difference: this year is set for 14 days and six days of voting remain.

Statewide, through either early voting or mail-in, more than 4.1 million people already have cast ballots for the Nov. 8 election, In Palm Beach County, the total is 224,782.

According to Florida Division of Elections figures posted Tuesday morning, of those submitting mail-in ballots statewide, Republicans stayed ahead of Democrats, 865,187 to 793,105. In early voting, they trailed Democrats 783,416 to 839,572.

State mail-in figures for Palm Beach County show Democrats lead GOP voters 50,954 to 30,159. Early-voting stats, which don’t exactly match those posted locally, show 59,498 Democrats and 35,264 Republicans.