2 election winners incorrectly certified - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

2 election winners incorrectly certified

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RIVIERA BEACH, FL (WFLX)   In Wellington, winners become losers, and losers become winners.

In an election already certified, Palm Beach County officials realized today that a computer glitch caused the results of Tuesday's election in Wellington to be miscounted.

After yet another Palm Beach County recount, two city council candidates who thought they lost actually won.

As ballots once again spun through counting machines, candidates, elections officials, and the public, were reliving an election they thought was over.

Shauna Hostetler was declared the winner last week --by 69 votes--over John Green for one council seat.

Today's recount makes him the winner by a 211 vote margin.

"I would have had a lot more fun at my party tonight, I can tell you that," said Greene.

"I was shocked I won, shocked I lost," said Hostetler.

It was the same with a second council seat.  Matt Willhite, a loser to Al Paglia last week, is now the winner.

"It's been an emotional roller coaster," said Willhite.

Elections officials called it a problem with computer software, one not yet completely understood.

But when they discovered the glitch today they moved quickly for the recount.

"The kind of error that we saw today is one that has never been seen in the State of Florida," said Susan Bucher, the Palm Beach County elections supervisor.

For a county that went through hanging chads a decade ago, this is another blow. 

"I don't know what the answer is. Certainly, I think we need to take a hard look at it from a county perspective," said Greene.

Hours of meetings were held on Monday night to focus on what to do next.

Will candidates have to pay for lawyers to challenge the results in court?

How long will that process take?

But the supervisor of elections faced questions about integrity of the county's vote-counting system. "This is not a human error, one that is a computer generated error," said Bucher.

After repeated questioning, and insisting the process was sound - she'd had enough.  She walked away from reporters at one point.

The new mayor, Bob Margolis whose race was not affected is left to wonder.

"Who is going to be on council with me?"

Even the elections lawyer, called this a very confusing situation for everyone.

Another meeting at four o'clock Tuesday to review a report from Monday's recount.

Because the results - the incorrect ones - were already certified, candidates who won will likely be forced to challenge the rulings in court.

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