Tuesday, November 28, 2006

FL-13 Dispute Becomes Political Theater

Complete with actors, prepared scripts, and a set; a team of 10 state employees will spend 12 hours today recreating election day.

A random sample of five electronic voting machines will serve as the props in this day-long drama. The goal of this community theater is to determine if, in fact, the machines or their software are flawed, or if voters either willingly or unintentionally skipped the Congressional race on their ballots. (from SP Times)

State officials have lavished painstaking detail on today's audit: Each of the five machines being tested has its own script, which, like a screenplay adaptation of a book, was written based on actual voting data. A team of 10 state employees will "vote" from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., just like on Election Day.
The Jennings camp has - predictably - launched a preemptive attack on the process by targeting the fact that it's being conducted by state officials.

"It's like having Ford employees doing all the test driving of the Taurus to see what went wrong," said Jennings' attorney, Kendall Coffey, of the state's plans to have its employees conduct the mock voting.

Because the state approved the type of equipment used in the election, it has an interest in seeing the audit reveal no unusual problems, Coffey said.

In a related story, the Orlando Sentinel reports that Katherine Harris, the previous occupant of the District 13 seat - is staying out of the fight. Though they point out that she has not answered calls from the AP, they do quote Harris from 2001:
"Now we're the national model instead of the national concern. There'll never be a hanging, dangling or pregnant chad again," Harris said in 2001.
Well, she was right - there are no chads.

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