People for the American Way (PFAW) just released the following update on the latest goings on in the FL-13 battle where their lawsuit (filed along with several Election Integrity organizations) has now been joined by the court with Democratic candidate Christine Jennings's own suit. Both are calling for a revote.
The press release (posted in full below) says that the state-run audit testing of a few of the machines in use on Election Day is an "excercise in futility" due to the small sampling size of the tests and the fact that the commission chosen to carry it out has reasons to ensure that nothing is actually found to be "wrong" with the paperless ES&S voting machines on which some 18,000 votes disappeared in the U.S. House race down there.
By the way, I recently spoke with Lowell Finley, the lead attorney from VoterAction.org, one of the groups filing the lawsuit on behalf of voters down there. He confirmed that the machines being used for today's testing --- two chosen by Buchanan, two by Jennings (from precincts with the highest undervote rate) --- will essentially be compromised by today's state-run audit testing. Though Finley and the others tried to make that point to the judge assigned to the matter, that testing these machines in this way would corrupt the original data, the court decided to allow the state to use them in this way nonetheless.
PFAW's news release, issued moments ago, also gives details and a link for more info concerning this Sunday's planned "Revote Rally" in Sarasota, as well as a link to video testimony from more than 50 voters who had trouble voting in the Jennings/Buchanan race on November 7th.
The PFAW press release follows in full below...
December 1, 2006
Nick Berning or Drew Courtney at 202-467-2369 or 202-467-2307
SARASOTA—After the second day of the state’s audit of Sarasota County voting machines apparently failed to yield useful information, People For the American Way Foundation’s Florida Legal Counsel, Reggie Mitchell, issued the following statement:
“Another day of auditing, and we still don’t know anything more than when we started. No surprise there. This audit was doomed from the start. The election officials overseeing the audit have a vested interest in its outcome. They looked at only five of the 1,500 machines used on Election Day. And even with these limitations, the testers still can't seem to get it right. What could we possibly learn from this exercise in futility?
“We don’t need an audit to tell us that something went terribly wrong. We’ve heard from dozens of voters about the problems they experienced. If you listen to what these very credible longtime Sarasota County citizens have to say, it’s clear that Sarasota’s voting machines malfunctioned, and votes somehow disappeared.
“Too many Sarasota County voters were denied their fundamental right to vote in this election. Nothing less than our democracy is at stake. A revote is the only fair solution to this problem, and momentum is growing to make it happen.”
REVOTE RALLY PLANNED FOR SUNDAY: Voters will gather in Sarasota at 2 p.m. on Sunday to demand a revote in Sarasota County’s portion of the 13th Congressional District. The rally, which will take place at Bayfront Park, is being organized by the Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections, and numerous nonpartisan voter advocacy groups including People For the American Way Foundation.
SARASOTA COUNTY VOTERS TELL THEIR STORIES—VIDEO NOW ONLINE: More than 50 voters who encountered problems voting in Sarasota County provided testimony at a November 16 public hearing in Sarasota sponsored by People For the American Way Foundation. Now, video of some of those voters’ testimony is available online (click here).
VOTER AND JENNINGS LAWSUITS CONSOLIDATED: A Tallahassee judge has consolidated the lawsuit filed on behalf of Sarasota County voters by the independent, nonpartisan organizations Voter Action, People For the American Way Foundation, the ACLU Foundation of Florida, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation with the lawsuit filed by the Jennings campaign. Both lawsuits seek a revote in the election. The suits will now be considered together by the court as they move through the legal process.