Manatee County had a successful Election Day, officials say

skennedy@bradenton.comNovember 8, 2012 

MANATEE -- But for a little rain, Election Day in Manatee County went smoothly.

"It went well," said Manatee Supervisor of Elections Bob Sweat.

"The rain didn't stop the voting, nobody got out of line, they just found shelter," he said.

Because of a flood of last-minute absentee balloting done in person at the supervisor's office, it was a lengthy process to get all the ballots counted on election night, Sweat said.

However, by 9 p.m. Tuesday, everything was done, he said.

That compares to some counties in Florida that still hadn't finished by Wednesday.

Officials compiled preliminary numbers showing that altogether, 91,749 voted at precincts; 45,764 voted via absentee ballot; and 16,343 voted early, according to Sharon Stief, chief deputy

of the elections office.

The total was 153,856, or almost 73.1 percent of the 210,544 registered voters in the county, she said.

Tuesday night, the elections office in Bradenton was full of reporters and media types, candidates and hangers-on, Sweat said.

"Before 10 (p.m.), everybody was gone," he added.

A number of people attempted to vote but weren't registered, Sweat said. They were allowed to fill out provisional ballots, which will be reviewed by the county canvassing board, which decides which ones are legal and which ones aren't.

Sweat, who is slated to retire officially after 28 years as supervisor on Jan. 7, said he's looking forward to retirement.

He plans to go fishing, he said.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow me on Twitter @sarawrites.com.

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