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Early votes' sancitity secure

Published October 26, 2006


It's election time in Florida, so voters and public officials alike have reason to be skittish. Sheriff's deputies are watching over Pinellas County's 11 early voting sites 24/7 until they shut down Nov. 4. The two-week gig, which costs about $100,000, protects the security of the voting machines after hours, says deputy supervisor Nancy Whitlock. Hillsborough County election officials don't use deputies. Instead, they lock up vote-counting cartridges in safes at night. Double-checks for tampering in the morning have not revealed irregularities, says Elections Supervisor Buddy Johnson.

Political ad's '.' poses '?'

Maurice Wappler of St. Petersburg is a stickler for punctuation. So when he saw a campaign Web site with an extra period, he filed a complaint with the Florida Elections Commission. Wappler's target was Rick Kriseman, Democratic candidate for House District 53. The offending sentence: "Political Advertisement. Paid for and approved by Rick Kriseman" State rules dictate the precise wording of such disclosures, but don't cover that extra period (after Advertisement). Wappler also complained about Republican Pinellas County Commissioner John Morroni, whose re-election Web site abbreviates the disclosure - "Pd. Pol. Ad." - which the state outlawed in 2004. For more political nuggets, see 3B

Groping inquiry now more arm's-length

Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe will investigate a battery accusation against Hillsborough County Tax Collector Doug Belden. On Tuesday, Hillsborough State Attorney Mark Ober asked Gov. Jeb Bush to find another prosecutor to handle the investigation because Belden is a friend. Bush asked McCabe to step in. Belden, accused of groping a woman at a Tampa bar, has denied the accusation.

Road planning hazardous

Hillsborough isn't the only county with an expressway authority tangled in controversy. The Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority ordered an audit after it was revealed it paid more than $100,000 to an antitax activist to study public reaction to raising tolls, the Orlando Sentinel reports. His conclusion: Careful, the public won't like it.


[Last modified October 26, 2006, 05:31:42]

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