Politics | WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

Leon Co. Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho Orders Polling Place Break-In

Tallahassee, Florida- August 14, 2012

We always want to hear that things went smoothly on election day.

At one precinct, officials had to do a little breaking and entering to start the day. And for volunteers, it's not quite what they expected they were going to do.

Barbara Mann has been working as a pollster for more than a decade now in Leon County. At 5:45 a.m. Tuesday morning she she and other volunteers showed up at Summerbrooke club house. The person from the golf course with the keys wasn't there to let them in.

"It wasn't until about 7:20 (a.m.) when we got in here," said Mann.

Mann began calling a number of people shortly after she arrived to find out who was to let them in. A little after 7:00 a.m. one of the election officials made a bold move.

With a line of about 20 people ready to punch their ballots, the elections office obviously decided to punch something of their own.

An election official took matters into his own hands when he smashed a window in the back with a hammer to let the volunteers go to work.

"Once we got set up and got the first group of people through everything has been calm, cool and collected ever since."

What started out as an uncertain day, showed how quickly volunteers can pull together.

"It had a very good ending," said volunteer Julie Atteberry. "We got everyone out quickly, you know, we took care of them. The way they should have been taken care of."

As for the window, the Leon County Supervisor of Elections Office will pay to replace it.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- A north Florida elections official has no apologies for his decision to have his staff break into a local country club.

Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho had a poll worker take a hammer and bust out a window in the clubhouse after country club employees did not show up as planned early Tuesday morning.

Sancho said he has a contract that requires The Golf Club at Summerbrooke to open its doors early so poll workers could set up voting machines in time for the Tuesday primary election.

At around 7 a.m., Sancho gave the go-ahead to the poll worker to break the window. Sancho said voters wound up getting delayed 10 to 15 minutes, but he said no one left before voting.

Sancho said his office is paying to replace the window.


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