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Lee Elections performs viewing of early ballots

February 4, 2014
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer


The Lee County Supervisor of Elections Office has begun its review of the absentee ballots cast in the Cape Coral Municipal Election that took place in November

It is not possible the counting may now into tomorrow and maybe longer if former mayor John Sullivan wants to examine all the ballots. There are 2,378 absentee ballots.

Original story:

At two tables, a pair of Lee County Elections officials hand-counted City of Cape Coral Municipal Election ballots and displayed them to the people surrounding them, who sat


In the corner of the room sat a former mayor and his attorney, witnessing what they saw.

It was a tedious process, but one that former Cape Coral mayor John Sullivan requested in his challenge of the election results. So, on Tuesday, more than 3,000 early ballots were reviewed at the Lee County Supervisor of Elections office.

Sullivan's camp said it wants to know if the early voting ballots from last November's election were miscounted.

According to the Supervisor of Elections, Sharon Harrington, Sullivan won the absentee ballots and Election Day voting, but lost in early


Sullivan and about 20 others were in the elections office looking at 3,595 early-voting ballots to make sure they were counted


Sullivan's people sat around the two tables taking count themselves as one Lee Elections worker showed them each ballot, while the other to her right counted it.

Neither Sullivan, nor his supporters, were allowed to touch the ballots, nor were they allowed to speak.

The media was allowed to view the proceedings through a window next to where the recount was being held.

With each ballot being shown individually, the recount was a time-consuming, tedious process. Still, Lee Elections spokesperson Vicki Collins said the count would be finished by 5 p.m.

Sullivan lost the general election by 121 votes, prompting him to ask for a recount. However, since he lost the electon by more than the half-percentage point necessary to trigger and automatic recount, he would have to pay for the recount himself.

Sullivan is in preparation for a court hearing on Feb. 12 and 13 to have that recount.

Leigh Fisher, Sullivan's attorney, said this is all he asked for after the election, and what he sees today will have an impact on what happens next.

"We're going to know. It will make it far more transparent," Fisher said. "If we find something erroneous, we'll be banging away in court.

There are things wrong with the election. The question is was the will of the people expressed in the vote."

Mayor Marni Sawicki, the current mayor, was at the office this morning, but not in the afternoon.

The recount is unofficial and it will not affect the outcome of the election.



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