The Florida Fiasco

In Sarasota County, Florida, apparently they “lost” around 18,000 votes in an highly contested election between Vern Buchanan (R) and Christine Jennings (D) for a seat in the US House of Representatives. Among the votes that they were able to count, the difference in the outcome was around 400 votes.

This story, which was widely reported can be read here from Wired Magazine. You might recall that Florida was involved in another electoral fiasco during the 2000 presidential election, helping the brother of the Governor of Florida to win the electoral vote and become President of the United States.

That was paper technology, in this election it was touch-screen technology. In this situation, apparently the software failed to record the vote in this race for around 18,000. Since there is no paper trail, it appears that there is no method to audit or accurately recount the vote. Election officials were taking the typical software support route to addressing this issue; it must be the voters’ fault. The article cites election Sarasota Elections Supervisor Kathy Dent,

“saying that voters either failed to see the race on the ballot because it appeared high at the top of a ballot page that also included the governor’s race, or they simply decided not to vote in that race — although they did cast votes in other races on the ballots. “

What irks me is the lack of awareness by our elected officials when it comes to matters as important as voting. How can any type of fair election take place with no accountability by paper trail or some other replication of the data? What were the people thinking that designed such a system, and then those who made the selection of these devices for deployment to the electorate?

Voting is a fundamental right and the foundation upon which the United States is built. When we allow that right to slip away to poor electoral accountability or downright fraud, then our country is doomed. For all our government’s worries about threats to our democracy from without, I often wonder if the real threat is not from within our own shores.

As my comedic hero, Earl Pitts often says, “Wake Up America!”


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