More Troubles for Palm Beach Voters

Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Theresa LePore is at the center of another election brouhaha.

This one is not about butterfly ballots or dimpled punch cards.

Boca Raton candidate Emil Danciu sued Monday claiming the March 12 city election was flawed because poll workers were inadequately trained and the new touch-screen voting machines malfunctioned.

Danciu, a former mayor, finished third in a four-way race for two seats on the city commission. The suit seeks to have the results overturned and a new election held.

The defendants are LePore, the county and city canvassing boards and the two winners, Bill Hager and Susan Haynie. But LePore and Haynie say problems were minor and did not affect the outcome.

"There is no perfect election and no perfect election equipment," Haynie said.

The suit includes affidavits from eight voters who said they had trouble casting ballots on the ATM-style machines. It also says voters should be given paper receipts to confirm their vote was recorded.

A poll worker who took home unused voting machine cartridges illustrates "grossly inadequate supervision" by LePore, said Charlotte Danciu, Danciu's daughter and attorney.

LePore said the only problems reported to her office were screens temporarily freezing when voters chose between English and Spanish, which did not prevent voting.

"It seems to be open season," said LePore, whom many people faulted for a confusing ballot design during the 2000 presidential election. "I know that everything I do in this office ... will be scrutinized for a long time."