On Election Day in 2006, in Sarasota County's 13th U.S. Congressional district race, some 18,000 votes cast on ES&S iVotronic touch-screen systems failed to register a vote for either candidate on the ballot. It was an extraordinarily high undervote rate, which has never been explained, in an election outcome determined by just 369 votes. (BRAD BLOG's long series of reports on FL-13 here.)
Nonetheless, just last year, the county's horrible, and still un-resigned, Supervisor of Elections, Kathy Dent (one of the country's absolute worst), lied to a bunch of colleagues during a speaking engagement at the Pacific Northwest Election Conference.
"It was only after the results were in and the 18,000 undervotes were revealed that all of a sudden there were all of these folks that started saying well they couldn't touch the machines ... and their vote wasn't registering," she tells her colleagues, as seen in the video above right, as captured by Ginny Ross of the Oregon Voter Rights Coalition.
"But they were all after the fact," Dent informs the crowd, "and there were no phone calls coming into my office. So it's a little bit of an indication that there may have been some politics involved in this."
Documentation from her own office, however (yes, a paper trail!), shows incontestably that the Election Director's comments, as caught on tape, are a complete and utter and unrepentant fabrication...
As Kim Zetter at WIRED's "Threat Level" blog revealed on Tuesday, public records requests for written complaint forms from the SoE's office, clearly show otherwise. Dent had received tons of complaint calls from voters unable to register votes in the FL-13 race, both on Election Day, and even during the early voting period. Moreover, additional reporting from Zetter shows that Dent knew about those complaints both at the time, and certainly by the time she made the out-and-out false statements seen in the video.
In other words, the woman entrusted to administrate the Sarasota County, Florida, elections, Kathy Dent, is a bald-faced liar.
But that's not all she lied about in the speech...
"Also contrary to what Dent says in the video," writes Zetter, "it wasn't only voters who supported the losing candidate who complained. Among those who expressed problems with a voting machine was the wife of the winning candidate, Vern Buchanan."
That's right, even the wife of the "winning candidate," the candidate who told everyone in the media that the reason for the extraordinary undervote rate --- which didn't occur in the same race in any other county, or even in the same county on the paper absentee ballots, but only on the e-voting machines and only on the ones in Sarasota --- was because thousands of voters chose not to vote in that race, for some unspecified reason.
Incidentally, that particular race was the most expensive one run during that 2006 election. Ironically, enough, it was also the contest to fill the Congressional seat being vacated by former FL Sec. of State Katherine Harris.
"So why would Dent tell her conference colleagues that voters never complained about machines until after the election was over, when records her office kept during the election clearly belied this?" asks Zetter.
Because she's a liar, answers The BRAD BLOG, in lieu of WIRED saying it directly (as per the genial journalistic courtesy, which we do not follow at this point, when the evidence is clear, since such undeserved niceties now ill serve this nation, in our opinion.) Though this certainly isn't the only such example of blatant dishonesty in Dent's
storied disgraceful career as Sarasota's SoE. You can look back through our voluminous FL-13 archives to find many more examples.
And, as if all of that is not shameful enough, in a second video posted by Zetter (go on over and check it out), Dent goes on to "joke" about all of those complaints (which she lied about), and on which her own petard is once against hoisted.
"Sarasota county is going paperless," she told her colleagues. "We don't really put anything in writing anymore."
WIRED notes the laughter from her colleagues following that remark, and Dent's follow up to it: "You think I'm kidding."