March 10, 2004


Florida county orders recount in primary


Election outcome unaffected as Kerry easily carries state


 (CNN) -- Election officials in Bay County, Florida, plan to recount all of the almost 20,000 ballots cast in Tuesday's presidential primary because of vote-counting irregularities, election Supervisor Mark Andersen said Wednesday.


"I'm not the happiest camper," Andersen said hours before the recount was scheduled to get under way. "We're going to redo everything."


The recount in the Panhandle county will not affect the outcome of Florida's primary, which handily went to Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, who secured 77 percent of the state's vote.


According to Andersen, the county's optical scanner did not count the votes correctly because of a discrepancy between the way the absentee and standard ballots were printed.


He said adjustments have been made so that both types of ballots can be properly counted.


Andersen did not release the initial results, but The Associated Press reported that Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri held a 2-to-1 lead over Kerry in the county, with more than 60 percent of precincts tallied.


Gephardt dropped out of the Democratic race in January after a disappointing showing in the Iowa caucuses.


The recount of about 19,000 ballots was set to begin at 8 a.m.


"I'm devastated," Andersen said, noting the snafus of the disputed 2000 presidential election that put Florida in the spotlight.


In his unsuccessful presidential bid in 2000, former Vice President Al Gore won the popular vote by a half-million votes but conceded to President Bush after a tumultuous 36-day recount in Florida and a 5-4 Supreme Court decision halting the recount.


Bush carried Florida by 537 votes in 2000.


Copyright 2004 CNN. All rights reserved. Associated Press contributed to this report.



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