Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Paper or Plastic?

From the Miami Herald:

Florida’s election system, ridiculed and maligned during the 2000 presidential election and then rebuilt with new technology, was thrown into chaos again Monday with five weeks to go before Election Day.

A federal appeals court in Atlanta reversed a lower-court judge and ordered him to hear a lawsuit that demands voters be given paper receipts when they use touch-screen voting machines so there is a paper trail in a close election.

The court’s decision is vindication for U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, the Palm Beach County Democrat who filed the lawsuit, and a potential nightmare for election officials in the 15 counties that use the ATM-style equipment, including Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach.

It also throws an unwelcome light once again on Florida, which was assailed Monday by former President Jimmy Carter, who said a repetition of problems from 2000 “seems likely in Florida.”

Regardless of whether Wexler wins his lawsuit in court, state officials said Monday that they will now draw up an emergency rule requiring touch-screen counties to do manual recounts in close elections — a startling turnaround, because the state fought for months to bar such recounts.

It ain’t over yet, but it does look like we might be getting a chance to have a legitimate election here in Florida.

Of course, Jeb! did not take kindly to President Carter’s comments.

Carter likened [Secretary of State Glenda] Hood to her predecessor, Katherine Harris, who co-chaired President Bush’s state campaign while overseeing the 2000 recount.

“The same strong bias has become evident,” Carter said of Hood, blaming her for a flawed list of felons who were to be purged from voter rolls. The list contained the names of 22,000 blacks — likely to vote Democratic — but just 61 Hispanics, who in Florida tend to vote Republican, Carter said. He called the list a “fumbling attempt” to disqualify blacks.

A spokesman for the governor called the column “shockingly partisan.”

There you go again, Jimmy. Don’t you know that Democrats can’t be partisan? That would be in violation of GOP copyright.