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Election Canvassing Board Sends Commission Race To Runoff

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The Miami-Dade County Elections Canvassing Board began meeting Friday morning and have made a determination on a disputed commission race and are evaluating a state house yet to be decided.

The Miami-Dade County Elections Department canvassing board started meeting at 9 a.m. to count provisional ballots from Tuesday's election and make the election results official.

Voters fill out provisional ballots when they cannot produce photo identification and are denied the chance to cast a regular ballot. Canvassing board members have final say on whether the signatures on provisional ballots match the ones the elections department has on file.

Miami-Dade Commissioner Bruno Barreiro was just eleven votes shy of winning Tuesday's election outright against Luis Garcia. That would avoid the need for Garcia and Barreiro to meet again in a November runoff election.

"Why fight the battle here today rather than take it to a runoff in November?" CBS4's David Sutta asked Commissioner Barreiro. "Well, it would be unfortunate that votes aren't counted," Barreiro told Sutta.

Barreiro's attorneys presented the board with a case to make more than 75 additional votes be counted. If the votes were allowed in and Barreiro captured enough of them, he would become the outright winner.

But regardless, Barriero said he isn't concerned about the possibility of a runoff.

"No, no. I feel very confident," Barreiro said of his chances in a runoff.

But, Barreiro came up short in his quest to win outright. According to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald, there will be a runoff between the two with the official results from Tuesday's election standing at 49.95 percent for Barreiro and 33.05 percent for Garcia.

At the same time Barreiro was trying to get his election settled, John Patrick Julien and Barbara Watson are fighting over a handful of votes as well in their battle for the District 107 state house seat.

"I think we will maintain our lead," Watson said. "Currently, we have a 26 vote lead. I think we will be able to sustain any challenge."

It's not the first time Watson has been in a similar position. She lost her last election by 18 votes, but won the recount by 16.

"It's extremely unusual, but unfortunately, I've been here before in this kind of dilemma and I expect in the future it will not happen again."

Julien has hitched his campaign's wagon to roughly 600 ballots that were ruled invalid, which could save his campaign. State rules state that a race as close as this one may need a manual recount.

"A computer cannot determine a person's intent," Julien said. "A person could put a check through a circle and the computer is not going to pick that up."

Two other runoffs are certain for the November election: District 3 Commissioner Audrey Edmonson, who represents communities from Miami Shores to Overtown, will face Keon Hardemon, an assistant public defender, and former state Rep. Juan C. Zapata will vie for the open District 11 seat in West Miami-Dade against county police officer Manny Machado.

  • Visit the Campaign 2012 section for more stories and full elections coverage, including Tuesday's results.


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