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Wrong Miss Florida crowned in voting mix-up

Miss Florida Dethroned After Scoring Error Is Found

By Letitia Stein

(Reuters) - Just a week after her coronation, the winner of the 2014 Miss Florida pageant was dethroned on Friday when organizers said they had crowned the wrong woman after a vote-count error.

Elizabeth Fechtel, a 20-year-old student at the University of Florida, won this year's pageant in front of nearly 2,000 spectators last Saturday in St. Petersburg, Florida.

But the ballot counter didn't see that one of the five judges had changed his mind, writing a new line up on the left-hand side of his ballot.

The true Miss Florida contest winner was Victoria Cowen, a 21-year-old student at Florida State University.

Meanwhile, in Delaware, beauty contest winner Amanda Longacre was stripped of her crown as Miss Delaware this week because she will turn 25 in October and pageant rules say contestants must be no older than 24 in 2014.

After the Florida mix-up came to light this week, pageant organizers sought an independent review, said Mary Sullivan, executive director of the Miss Florida pageant.

Sullivan delivered the bad news to Fechtel in person on Thursday evening, traveling to her home in Leesburg, Florida.

"Our organization had to do the right thing, and the right thing is to crown the young woman that was intended to be crowned," Sullivan said.

Sullivan was not aware of another vote count error of this nature, although pageant winners have been disqualified for other reasons, she said.

Fechtel is now the runner-up, and Cowen will compete in September's Miss America contest. The two women are friends, Sullivan said, which made the conversations even harder.

"We would have been very proud either way because they are so exceptional," Sullivan said. "Once we were made aware of it, we couldn't stand by and just not do anything."

The Florida pageant involved in the mix-up is part of the "Miss America" series, distinct from a separate Florida contest for the "Miss USA" title.

Neither woman could immediately be reached on Friday.

(Reporting by Letitia Stein; Editing by Barbara Goldberg)

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Mel June 28 2014 at 8:42 PM

WHO CARES!!! They're all bubble-headed, superficial, surgery-enhanced walking Barbie dolls who get their self-esteem solely from being judged as objects. Watching these "beauty pageants" is like watching the Kentucky Thoroughbred Yearling Sale. For crissakes, girls... find another way to fix your daddy issues other than strutting down a runway in a bikini and stilettos!

And NO... I am FAR from jealous, lol.

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11 replies
Viper1ex19 June 28 2014 at 10:06 PM

Vote Count Error? in Florida??,,,
Noooo,,, you don't say

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5 replies
THE GREAT NANCINATOR June 28 2014 at 11:40 PM

Wow...talk about incompetence.

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1 reply
Eric THE GREAT NANCINATOR June 29 2014 at 1:11 AM

5 voting judges and STILL the count was screwed up.

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1 reply
missourift Eric June 29 2014 at 6:39 AM

all Democrat judges!!

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d1anaw June 28 2014 at 9:01 PM

Your organization "has to do the right thing"? Well the right thing would be to do away with "contests" that pit women against each other for looks, especially when you insist they all look the same anyway. Do away with these stupid pagents. And do not pull the scholarship card. No one needs to walk down an aisle in a bathing suit and heels to prove how "intelligent" they are. This was started as a competition pitting women against each other and that is what it remains today. There is nothing "ideal" about it.

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1 reply
Eric d1anaw June 29 2014 at 1:04 AM

See my previous post, the one where I believe dignity needs to be displayed to qualm this error in judgement. I'm am pleased that you agree with my general idea and support the notion of a Jello wrestling contest to determine a winner. But on a serious note, did someone force the women to enter the contest or are you saying some women are too stupid to decide for themselves if they want to enter such a contest?

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jaguara777 June 28 2014 at 10:38 PM

They need to count the ballots 3-5 times.

Mistakes like that hurt too people.

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cowboy June 28 2014 at 8:38 PM

And what is the point? It's like a football scholarship...Means nothing in the scholastic world. The most brainless people get shoved to the front of the bus for being "STUPID". Welcome to America.

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6 replies
Rick June 28 2014 at 10:54 PM

The whole thing is an affront to women. Men are constantly harassed and berated for treating women as objects, and nothing objectivizes women more than this nonsense. The losing women are really winners.

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1 reply
Eric Rick June 29 2014 at 1:10 AM

So you think the women should have no free choice to be contestants in the competition? Wow, what a deep thinker you are....trying to save all the stupid women from their own failure to consider their actions, actions taken of their own free will. I sure hope one of my four daughters dates you. I'll enjoy watching you bleed after you mention that some women are too stupid to decide their own choices.

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theemovado June 28 2014 at 8:12 PM


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1 reply
dublduck theemovado June 29 2014 at 3:23 PM

Looks like Florida can't get any vote right. Were there 'Hanging Chads' in this vote too?

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J E KOLASH June 28 2014 at 11:00 PM

This will cause her such trauma she will need counseling for the rest of her life...geez BFD

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revivalman June 29 2014 at 1:23 AM

It sounds like idiots are running these idiotic beauty contests.

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