New Palm Beach County Property Appraiser Dorothy Jacks sworn in

Dorothy Jacks, longtime chief deputy to Gary Nikolits, is sworn in by retired Judge Mary Lupoi at the 1916 Palm Beach County Courthouse Tuesday, January 3, 2017. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)
Dorothy Jacks, longtime chief deputy to Gary Nikolits, is sworn in by retired Judge Mary Lupoi at the 1916 Palm Beach County Courthouse Tuesday, January 3, 2017. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

In the main courtroom of the historic 1916 Palm Beach County Courthouse, whose first tenant a century ago was Palm Beach County’s “tax assessor,” that post’s ninth incarnation was sworn in Tuesday.

With a big smile, and with her family looking on from the old jury box, new Palm Beach County Property Appraiser — that’s the title now — Dorothy Jacks took the oath of office from a woman whose children she’d baby-sat as a 13-year-old in Palm Beach Gardens: retired Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Mary Lupo.

“I would be lying if I didn’t say that was very emotional,” said Jacks, whose voice then faltered with emotion as she said, “there is really nothing better in life than a dream come true.”

Jacks noted that now four of the county’s six constitutional officers are women: herself, Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher, Tax Collector Anne Gannon, and Clerk and Comptroller Sharon Bock, all of who attended Tuesday’s swearing-in. (The other two are State Attorney Dave Aronberg, who also attended, and Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, who was not there.)

Jacks worked in the property appraiser’s office for 28 years and was chief deputy since 2012 for Gary Nikolits, who stepped down after nearly a quarter-century at the post.

Appeals Court: Palm Beach County elections chief’s records charge was “reasonable”

Bucher
Bucher
trout
Trout

Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher imposed a “reasonable”  fee on U.S. Congress write-in candidate W. Michael Trout, the 4th District Court of Appeal said in a ruling released Wednesday.

Trout, a failed write-in candidate in November’s re-election of U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, also had challenged Deutch as a write-in in 2014.

After the 2014 election, he submitted a public records request to inspect the official ballots associated with his congressional race “at the earliest reasonable time possible, including ballots deemed to be cast in [Trout’s] name, and those deemed by [the Supervisor’s] office to be invalidated,” the appeals court’s ruling says.

Bucher responded six days later, saying counting the 145,881 ballots in 211 precincts would take require her and three other staffers to do work beyond that for a usual records request. She said she’d have to charge Trout up to $189.21, which he had to submit in advance as a deposit.

Florida’s Sunshine Law says records custodians can charge only the hourly pay of the lowest-paid person qualified to fulfill a request. Bucher argued that it was reasonable for her, as head of the elections office, to supervise Trout’s inspection of the ballots — and to charge her hourly wage.

Trout refused to pay the deposit and sued in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, then appealed when the judge ruled against him.

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.

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 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.

 

 

More than 50,000 voted early or by mail in Palm Beach County; nearly 21.5 million statewide

102516-pbc-early-voting-4 The number who already have voted in the Nov. 8 election, by either early voting or mail-in, is nearly 2.5 million in Florida and nearly 50,000 in Palm Beach County, stats show.

Palm Beach County’s three-day total of 49,714, as reported by the Supervisor of Elections, already is more than a fourth of the 124,896 who participated in eight days of early voting for the November 2012 general election.

For all three days,  the highest volume among the 15 early-voting sites has been the Hagen Ranch Road Palm Beach County Library branch, west of Delray Beach, which by itself accounts for 11 percent of all early voters.

The Florida Division of Elections’ mail-in and early-voting figures, as of midday Thursday, show 2.47 million people already have used one of the two pre-Election Day options. Another 1.65 million ballots were requested but not yet turned in.0

Among mail-ins submitted statewide, Republicans still outnumber Democrats, 677,907 to 631,672, But among those voting early, the GOP trails 336,299 to 370,809.

The state’s figures for Palm Beach County, which don’t exactly match those posted locally, show Republicans trailing 23,662 to 40,955 in mail-ins and  13,905 to 24,748 in early voting.
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