500 ballots incomplete in Lehigh Acres

Posted at 8:27 PM, Oct 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-28 20:27:56-04

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. -- A mapping error means 500 people in the Varsity Lakes area of Lehigh Acres won't be able to vote for municipal service improvement district seats 1, 3 and 5.

The Lee County Supervisor of Elections Office caught the error, which leaves the Municipal Service District seat elections off the ballot, but leaves all other contests. They sent the following statement:

"The Florida Division of Elections has advised the Lee County Supervisor of Elections that due to the advanced stage of the election, we must allow the election to go forward in its current circumstance and report election results in accordance with Florida Law.  The outcome of the election will determine what action, if any, will be undertaken."

For some candidates who were left off the ballots, this is a major concern if it is a close race. One told Fox 4 the Supervisor of Elections should send provisional ballots to those affected. "I'm disappointed that 500 of our citizens don't have the right to vote in that election," said Kenneth Thompson, who's fighting to keep seat 3. "If one person doesn't get to vote, then you're impacting them and it's her responsibility to make sure everyone who's eligible to vote should be voting."

Voters coming out of the Varsity Lakes precinct agreed. "With technology these days, there's no reason they can't reprint ballots and get them out to the people who would be affected, said Kyle Neven. "After the fact, anything could be changed, rigged, whatever. I think it really needs to be addressed right away."

However, other candidates, like Dewey Tyler running for seat 1, think the elections office took the appropriate course of action, saying the mistake should only be corrected if those 500 votes make a difference. "People have their right to vote, but at the same time, mistakes happen and it's not widespread. It's minor," he said.

The Supervisor of Elections office said they have contacted their mapping vendor to see how the error happened. Fox 4 called them, Friday, and they said they have no plans to send out supplemental ballots.