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Nancy Smith

Another Election Year, Another Susan Bucher Ballot Screw-Up

October 15, 2014 - 6:00pm

Did you really think Susan Bucher was going to get through an election without mucking something up?

Sure enough, the Palm Beach supervisor of elections lived down to expectations.

Two years after Bucher's office sent out judicial-rentention questions without section headings on absentee ballots in 423 of the county's 842 precincts, history repeated itelf ... well ... sort of.

New sample ballots will be in the mail by the end of the week to some 740,000 Palm Beach County voters after another printing company error went undiscovered.

A watermark identifying the ballots as samples was so dark it blocked some text on the ballots and rendered some candidate names and other words illegible. The bad batch went out to every registered Palm Beach County voter who didn't sign up to vote absentee.

The story was reported in the Sun Sentinel, whose parent company -- Tribune Publishing -- also owns Tribune Direct, the vendor Bucher hired to print the sample ballots.

"Tribune Direct has acknowledged the error and is working closely with Susan Bucher ... to quickly and effective remedy the situation," Tribune Publishing spokesman Matt Hutchison said in a statement Tuesday.

But here's the problem:

Yes, it was a printer's error, and yes, accidents can happen to anyone. But election accidents don't just happen to anyone. Pound for pound,more happen to Susan Bucher than probably any other accident-prone supervisor on the planet.

Also, after Palm Beach County's judicial-retention ballot error of 2012, a Department of State review of what went wrong concluded Bucher must do this next time:

"... augment (her office's) current ballot proofing procedure to include at least a random additional review of printed ballots before ballots are either mailed to absentee voters or deployed to a precinct on Election Day."

So, once again, nobody from the super's office proofed the ballots. Did Bucher blow off those recommendations in 2012, or just forget?

Aw, who cares. It's just fun to have her back, isn't it?

Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith

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