More and more Election Integrity advocates and groups are now joining the drumbeat calling for a complete re-vote on paper ballots in the mess that has become U.S. House race in Florida's 13th congressional district in Sarasota. The BRAD BLOG also calls for a complete paper-based revote as the only way to ensure the voter's voice will be heard.
There are fewer than 400 votes separating Vern Buchanan (R) and Christine Jennings (D) in the race to fill (ironically enough) former SoS Katherine Harris's seat. And yet, a full 18,000 votes have gone missing, recorded as undervotes on the paperless ES&S touch-screen systems that failed during the election.
The People for the American Way Florida have issued a press release (posted in full at the end of this article) calling for a complete re-vote, as well as expressing their criticism of the Jeb Bush Administration appointment of a rabid Bush-partisan and paper "trail" opponent to head an audit to figure out what went wrong.
The National Voting Rights Institute yesterday called for a full re-vote as well, saying in their press release, "Public confidence in the vote-counting process is a bedrock principle of any democracy. In Florida's 13th Congressional District, it is clear that only a revote with the option of hand-recorded paper ballots will ensure that voters in that district can trust that their votes will be properly counted."
Common Cause has similarly called for an investigation into what happened in FL-13 and said the vote should not be certified as is. As well, their announcement calls for the immediate passage of Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) HR550 election reform legislation, which is currently supported by some 220 bi-partisan House members. Unfortunately, HR550 would not have guaranteed the problems in FL-13 would have been avoided, as it only calls for paper records as opposed to the much needed paper ballot required for every vote cast. So-called paper "trails" on the touch-screen systems down in Florida would not have avoided the problem we're now facing and, in fact, would likely have exacerbated them by giving voters and elections officials a false sense of security. Paper "trails" on touch-screen DRE machines are not reliable or accurate, they fail consistently, can be gamed quite easily, and frequently cannot be actually verified by the voters.
Finally, Election Integrity organization VelvetRevolution.us (of which The BRAD BLOG is co-founder) goes further still in both calling for a full paper-based re-vote as well as demanding the resignation of failed Sarasota Supervisor of Elections, Kathy Dent.
Dent failed the voters in Flordia's 13th district and across the entire county, by fighting to ensure they would not have any means of avoiding such problems when she insisted on untested, inaccurate electronic touch-screen systems without paper ballots --- or even paper trails that could have been used to mitigate a disaster such as the one now facing her.
She should resign immediately, along with Secretary of State Sue M. Cobb and the other officials directly responsible for this debacle.
The full press release from People For the American Way Florida follows below...
UPDATE 5:00pm Three more groups, Voter Action, ACLU, and Electronic Frontier Foundation, also now announce their call for a re-vote and investigation. Their press release follows in full below now as well...