Hillsborough County uses only paper ballots, according to the Supervisor of Elections office.
With early voting underway for the presidential election on Tuesday, Nov. 8, voter concerns are high.
According to Gerri Kramer, the director of communications for the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections, some voters have been warned about supposed dangers with electronic ballots. Voters in Hillsborough County have made calls stating that when they select one candidate on a touch-screen ballot, the machine selects the other candidate.
But the calls, Kramer said, are a hoax. In Hillsborough County and across Florida, all ballots submitted are paper ballots and not part of the SmartMatic voting system — a necessity in case of a requested recount.
“This is a hoax,” Kramer said. “This is something going around and around. We’ve had people calling and reading from a script, we believe.”
Voters who contacted the Plant City Times & Observer have cited the issues with electronic ballots at Bruton Memorial Library, with calls saying that the presidential candidates were switched on touch-screen ballots. However, poll workers at Bruton Memorial Library confirmed that the location only has paper ballots.
In addition, Kramer added, the machines used to process paper ballot votes are new. The county received new voting machines during the primary election. Kramer said that all voting machines in Florida are certified by the state.
“They use optimal scanning technology,” Kramer said. “We don’t have electronic touch-screen or push button machines.”
Prior to the elections, randomly selected machines undergo logic and accuracy tests in front of the public. The process, Kramer said, is done by every county in Florida. A manual audit also is conducted with random ballots.
In Hillsborough County, early voting began Monday, Oct. 24, and runs through Sunday, Nov. 6.
Florida residents must have registered to vote by Tuesday, Oct. 18, to vote in the 2016 election.
A list of early polling locations can be found on VoteHillsborough.org. In Plant City, early voting can be done at Bruton Memorial Library, 302 W. McLendon St., Plant City. Voters should bring two forms of identification to vote that include a signature and photo.
As of Friday, Oct. 28, a total of 210,928 Hillsborough County residents have voted.
A full recap of every local candidate on the ballot will run in the Plant City Times & Observer Friday, Nov. 4, prior to Election Day.
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