Florida has just one-upped Delaware in the beauty-pageant gaffe department: The Miss Florida pageant crowned the wrong winner last Saturday because of a vote-counting error and has had to make an embarrassing about-face, reports theMiami Herald.
The pageant initially named Elizabeth Fechtel its winner, and the 20-year-old University of Florida student basked in the glory for all of five days, until a pageant official arrived at her house Thursday evening to inform her that first runner-up Victoria Cowen is getting the crown instead.
Fechtel had already dropped her classes at the University of Florida to begin preparation for the Miss America pageant, her mom tells the Orlando Sentinel.
So what happened? Pageant officials told the Fechtels that one judge changed his mind about who should finish first in the final seconds of his allotted time and drew lines on his ballot to reverse his vote, reports the Tampa Bay Times.
The switch got overlooked initially, but a subsequent independent audit confirmed that Cowen was the rightful winner.
Fechtel called to congratulate her friend, and she'll also have to hand over the thousands in scholarship money she won ever so briefly.
In a statement, the pageant chalked it up to an "error in the tabulation process." In Delaware, meanwhile, the newly crowned winner got stripped of her title because she was too old at 24.
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