A Different Voting Recount in Florida

In November 2006, "Democrat Christine Jennings, lost to her Republican opponent, Vern Buchanan, by just 373 votes out of a total 237,861 cast â'' one of the closest House races in the nation. More than 18,000 voters in Sarasota County, or 13 percent of those who went to the polls Tuesday, did not seem to vote in the Congressional race when they cast ballots, a discrepancy that Kathy Dent, the county elections supervisor, said she could not explain," according to a story in the New York Times.

The uproar was such that this past February, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist announced that Florida would get rid of all of its touch-screen voting machines, and instead use a system whereby voters would cast paper ballots that would be counted by scanning machines. Crist demanded that this new voting system be put into place in time for next year's presidential election.

A recent story in the New York Times discusses Florida's on-going problems with dumping all 25,000 of its e-voting machines, purchased for tens of millions of dollars merely six years ago as a result of the voting problems in the infamous 2000 presidential election. Some Florida counties, like Miami-Dade, is now in the process of throwing out 7,200 touch-screen machines alone, even as the county still owes $15 million on them. Palm Beach county is trying to get rid of 4,900 touch-screens and it still owes $4.8 million. No one, it seems too interested in buying them.

As I noted a few months back, California has placed very severe limits on the use of electronic voting machines. The road to e-voting is a hard one, I guess.

By the way, the voting machines used last year in Sarasota County are sequestered under court order as the investigation into the apparent voting irregularities continues.


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Robert Charette
Spotsylvania, Va.
Willie D. Jones
New York City