Florida-13 Update

Brian Zick

Paul Kiel at TPM Muckraker reports that a voting expert representing the manufacturer of the machines has written that there were certainly major problems in the election, and that those problems cost Democrat Christine Jennings the election. Yesterday, Prof. Michael Herron of Dartmouth testified on behalf of Election Systems & Software Inc. in the state court battle over the election results. He argued that the design of the ballot (which you can see here) was at fault for the large "undervote" in Florida's Sarasota County, where voting machines did not register a vote in the congressional race for approximately 14% of voters. But while he may argue that machine glitches weren't at fault for the result, he doesn't dispute that something went wrong on Election Day. “It is hard to imagine that the Sarasota result reflects deliberate voter choices," reads a report (pdf) issued earlier this month by Herron and his colleagues on Florida's 13th District. Even more tellingly, Herron found that "there is essentially a 100 percent chance that Jennings would have won the CD 13 race had Sarasota voters" voted in another county. Paul also reports that Juanita Millender-McDonald, Chair of the House Administration Committee (which is in charge of handling Jennings' challenge of the election results) wrote a letter to the Florida appeals court hearing the case. McDonald informed the court that it was of concern that the parties have been unable to agree upon, and that, on December 29th, the lower court declined to order, the requested access to the hardware and software (including the source code) needed to test the contestant's central claim: voting machine malfunction. She concludes with: Against this background, I am particularly concerned that the public, in Florida and nation-wide, have full confidence that the questions raised by this contest are resolved after consideration of all relevant evidence. It is with this public interest in mind, and also with due consideration for the State's and the House's proper performance of their respective constitutional duties, that I respectfully submit these views to the Court for its consideration.

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