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Hand recount fails to help No. 3 candidate in primary

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The third-place finisher in the mayoral primary gained no votes Saturday in a hand recount of punchcard ballots — the same design criticized during the presidential election.

In requesting the recount, City Councilman Larry Williams cited the closeness of the race and the ballot problems during Florida's contested presidential race.

Williams on Tuesday finished 219 votes behind Councilwoman Kathleen Ford, who advanced to the March 27 general election with top vote-getter Rick Baker, a corporate lawyer.

In the primary, 37,129 votes were cast for nine candidates. Machines threw out 287 punchcard ballots — 200 because more than one candidate was selected and 87 because no vote was registered.

The Pinellas County canvassing board hand-counted 3,713 punchcards, or 10 percent of votes cast, in eight precincts.