Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Simplifying recounts in Florida

From the Miami Herald of June 8, 2004:
In Tuesday's special election to fill state House seat 91, 134 Broward voters managed to use the 2-year-old touch-screen equipment without casting votes for any candidate.

How so many happened to cast nonvotes remains a riddle. Unlike with punch cards or paper ballots, there's no paper record with electronic voting that might offer a clue to the voter's intent.

The elected representative won by 12 votes.
''These were the new machines,'' said Chas Brady, a spokesman for Parker's campaign. ``This was not supposed to happen.''

Half the state's voters will be using touch screen machines this coming November:
15 counties, including Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and 12 others comprising more than half the state's 9.5 million voters, have touch-screen technology. The voter merely touches the candidate's name on the screen and when done with the entire ballot, all the selections are recorded electronically. There is no independent method of checking a paper document against the machine's total. Miami Herald, July 2, 2004.

If there's no paper trail, then what?

Despite plenty of warning about this very thing, Florida's solution, according to a report on air today, is that the state elections commission simply will not recount ballots in counties with touch screens. In a tight election in November, then, more than half the state's voters -- those in some of the more heavily democratic areas -- will simply...not count?

And by 2008, when all counties except maybe one or two rural ones have touch screens, we can look forward to a tight national election decided by six crabbers in Chokaloskee.


Blogger AKMA said...

Or one programmer at Diebold.

7/08/2004 12:28 AM  

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