Vote's results are now official
After a computer malfunction, a recount and an audit were done Wednesday morning. Two new commissioners and the first female mayor will be sworn in Tuesday.
By LORRI HELFAND
Published March 12, 2006
LARGO - The city's voting results were certified Saturday morning, clearing the way for Largo's newly elected leaders to take the helm.
Pat Gerard, 56, who has served as commissioner since 2000, will be sworn in as the city's first female mayor on Tuesday. New commissioners, Rodney Woods, 48, and Gigi Arntzen, 56, also will be sworn in.
Commissioner Mary Gray Black, a city canvassing board member, initially asked for a recount because a computer server malfunctioned on election night. But, after Deborah Clark, Pinellas County supervisor of elections, explained how the votes already had been recounted and audited, Black said she trusted the process.
"I feel very confident. They went far beyond what they needed to do," Black said Saturday after the canvassing board met at the Elections Service Center.
Clark said votes were recounted Wednesday morning, confirming the results from the night before. She also said an audit was done, comparing the results from individual voting machines to votes tabulated by the elections office.
A recount was not legally required, however, because none of the candidates were defeated by one-half of a percent or less of the votes cast in their race.
During the Tuesday night election, the count was delayed for about two hours after a computer server at the elections office froze about 8:40 p.m. The problem occurred because an information technology administrator didn't set aside enough hard drive space, officials said.
Black suggested the recount Wednesday night at a canvassing board meeting, saying she didn't think the final count would change, but she wanted to make sure there was confidence in the process itself.
Three provisional ballots also were certified Saturday. In the closest race, Mayor-elect Gerard earned two extra votes and her opponent, Mayor Bob Jackson, garnered one additional vote.
This year, voter turnout in Largo more than doubled to 14 percent with 6,358 of the city's 46,143 registered voters participating. Last year, 6.1 percent of Largo voters cast ballots.
Lorri Helfand can be reached at 445-4155 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
[Last modified March 12, 2006, 01:18:21]
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