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New Way to Vote Boosts Turnout in Arizona Primary

Politics: Novelty of Internet balloting results in heavy interest despite uncontested race. Gore the big winner.

March 12, 2000|From Associated Press

PHOENIX — Although busy computer connections and other glitches frustrated some voters in Arizona's Democratic primary Saturday, a record turnout gave Vice President Gore a resounding and expected victory as the party completed the first binding election for public office using the Internet.

The state's voters had a choice of using computer terminals or traditional paper ballots at most of the 124 polling sites. Mail-in ballots also were available. Even without a competitive race, more than 35,000 people--three times as many as participated in 1996--had cast ballots in early Internet voting completed Friday. An additional 20,000 mail-in ballots also were cast.

With 93% of the paper ballot and Internet vote counted, Gore had 55,508, or 78%, to 14,198, or 20%, for Bradley, and 1,087, or 2%, for Indiana businesswoman Heather Anne Harder, the only other person on the ballot.

But with Gore already having the nomination assured and his rival, Bill Bradley, out of the race, the story became more about how Arizona Democrats voted to allocate 31 delegates than who they voted for.

A total of 234 Democratic delegates were being decided this weekend in Arizona, Michigan and Minnesota. The three states have a total of 295 delegates, including at-large delegates not selected by primary or caucus.

In Michigan caucuses Saturday, Gore had 15,854 votes to 3,117 for Bradley with all 135 caucus sites reporting and all mail-in ballots counted. That translated to at least 107 delegates for Gore and seven for Bradley, with the allocation in three congressional districts unavailable Saturday night as voters chose 129 of Michigan's 157 total delegates.

With 93 of 111 precincts reporting after the first of two days of Minnesota caucuses, Gore had 74% of the votes to 12% for Bradley in contests for 74 of the state's 91 total delegates.

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