Dozens voted by email, fax in storm-ravaged Bay County, reports say

Gov. Rick Scott specifically prohibited practice after Hurricane Michael

By Tim Swift
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. - About 150 people were able to vote via email and fax machine in Bay County after the Panhandle was hard hit by Hurricane Michael in October, according to multiple news reports.

Gov. Rick Scott expanded voting opportunities after the storm, which caused widespread destruction, but specifically prohibited voting by email or fax machine. Eleven ballots were cast via email while 147 people voted using a combination of email and fax machine, local TV station WJHG reported. 

"Whoever has a problem with this should be ashamed," Bay County Election Supervisor Mark Andersen told Politico. "This area was hit by a hurricane and some people still don’t have power, some still don’t have water and one of my staff doesn't have a home."

After the hurricane, Scott issued an order for several Panhandle counties, including Bay, that expanded early voting and allowed people to request an absentee ballot from an address not listed on file.

The county voted overwhelming for Republican candidates. The state is undergoing a recount of three key races -- governor, U.S. Senate and agriculture commissioner -- after the margins of victory in those contests fell under 0.5 percentage point.

The governor's office said the Florida Department of State was working on a response to the reports. 

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