Voting, Florida Style

Think we won’t see another election-night debacle in Florida come November 2? Think again.

A few frightening excerpts from the article:

Surely we can trust the voting machines in place, right?

Supporters told his campaign office that when they tried to touch the screen to light up his name, the machine registered the name of an opponent. Danciu also found that 15 cartridges containing the vote totals from machines in his home precinct had disappeared on election night, delaying the result. It transpired that an election worker had taken them home, in violation of the most basic procedures. Danciu’s lawyer, his daughter Charlotte, said some cartridges were then found to be empty, for reasons that have never been adequately explained.


To make matters worse, freak storms knocked out power to certain polling stations for so long that the battery back-ups on many iVotronics ran out. The tabulation machines then went bananas. One Miami precinct reported a 900 per cent turnout; another showed just one ballot cast out of 1,637 registered voters. “It turned out that the county had purchased a prototype,” said Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, who heads the Miami-Dade Electoral Reform Coalition. “This was an invention that had never been tested. We were the guinea pigs.”

What happened when Theresa LePore was up for re-election for Palm Beach County elections supervisor, defending her post against a rival interested in elections reform? Think there might have been a conflict of interest there, overseeing your own election?

Sarah “Echo” Steiner, a member of the Palm Beach Coalition for Election Reform, said the place looked “like a crime scene” when she dropped off her absentee ballot. It took her a while to find the lone unmarked entrance at the back where the public could still go in, and she was worried that the police presence was a ploy to try to suppress Anderson’s absentee vote count (which, given his supporters’ mistrust of the electronic machines, was expected to be high).

Surely verifying the correctness of an election won’t be opposed by the Republicans, right?

The Republicans can only be thrilled that those southern counties have opted for electronic voting machines, without an independent paper trail, because they make meaningful re-counts essentially impossible. There have even been efforts – by the Florida legislature, and by the new Secretary of State, Glenda Hood – to make re-counts on electronic machines illegal. Only the intervention of the courts, relying on a Florida statute calling for the possibility of manual re-counts, has forestalled them – so far. [emphasis mine]

There’s plenty more where that came from in the full article.

Also, today another letter to the editor attacking paperless voting machines was published in The Exponent. I particularly like how its author describes the inherent risks in the machines in terms the non-computer-literate can understand:

If you still think there is no problem trusting a random programmer from Ohio to deliver your vote for you, then you should have even less of a problem allowing a local programmer to do the same thing. Just mail your voter identification card to 140 Pierce St. Apt 13, indicate which candidate you wish to vote for and I will go to Cary Quad and vote for you. You can trust me, I promise.

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