By Brad Friedman on 12/19/2004, 11:48pm PT  

In the "Tom Feeney - In his own words" section of his official U.S. House of Representatives website page, Mr. Feeney (R-FL) reposts an Op-Ed he penned for the Orlando Sentinel --- apparently not ironically --- entitled "FLORIDA GETS IT RIGHT ON ELECTIONS".

The Op-Ed was published --- apparently not ironically --- on April 1, 2004 (April Fools Day).

In the piece, Mr. Feeney offers some well-informed opinions of the "unnecessary and devisive", "destructive lawsuits" challenging Florida's voting system by "vocal naysayers, who for partisan reasons are doing their best to portray the Sunshine State's voting technologies in a negative light."

The entire piece is certainly worth a read in full! If only for so many such --- apparently not ironic --- turns of phrase!

But there were two --- not ironic at all --- passages which, for some reason, leapt out at us this evening [emphasis added]:

Florida is a national leader in election reform. Much of the credit goes to state legislators who helped position Florida to make the necessary changes in the state's voting processes and technologies. That commitment has paid off, despite the criticisms and insults from partisan leaders who are ill-informed and have made every attempt to derail voter confidence and undermine our entire elections process.

What Mr. Feeney modestly fails to note in that paragraph is that he --- as Speaker of the Florida state legislature in 2000 (where he remained until joining the U.S. House in 2002) --- was himself, apparently, one of those "state legislators who helped position Florida to make the necessary changes in the state's voting processes and technologies." At least as Clint Curtis would tell us.

But aside from that, Mr. Feeney's right! That commitment has paid off!

Though for all of Mr. Feeney's hard work in changing "the state's voting processes and technologies" it seems that he may be the "ill-informed" one on some of these matters. Just look what he had to say in the same --- apparently not ironic --- Op-Ed in regards to voter-verified paper trails [emphasis once again added]:

As time goes on, I expect that Florida will continue to improve its voting systems and processes --- particularly as technology continues to evolve. But the argument that printers should be attached to touch-screen voting machines in the counties that use them is unrealistic as of today. Such companion technology does not currently exist, and in all likelihood will not exist by the November election.

Well, that's odd...And not at all ironic! And it may even be news to the entire state of Nevada!

Perhaps Mr. Feeney missed this information posted on the website of his good friends at the Sequoia Voting Systems corporation:

State of Nevada to Utilize Sequoia Voter Verifiable Paper Record Printers Throughout the State in 2004 Primary and General Election

WASHINGTON, DC - Sequoia Voting Systems today announced it has successfully passed federal testing of the VeriVote ? printer upgrade to the company's popular AVC Edge touch screen voting system. The printer, which allows voters to view a paper copy of their electronic ballot before leaving the polling place, will be used throughout the State of Nevada for their September 7, 2004 Primary Election and the November 2, 2004 Presidential General Election.

As a completely unrelated and not-ironic-at-all side note, Mr. Feeney has still refused to return the phone calls of many reporters seeking comment from the Congressman in the two full weeks since The BRAD BLOG began reporting on allegations that he sought to create "vote-rigging software" from Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI) --- in his hometown of Oviedo, FL --- back in 2000 where he served as corporate counsel and registered lobbyist while concurrently serving as Speaker of the Florida Legislature. (See our "Special Coverage" sidebar at right for more info.)

On that point, Mr. Feeney may deserve the benefit of the doubt, however. We cannot know for certain, after all, if his office has "the companion technology" necessary to return such phone calls.

As such, any expectation that he or his staff would be able to use such "evolving technology" --- such as the telephone --- in order to do so, might well be "unrealistic as of today".