Sunday, December 10, 2006

FL-13 Update: St. Times Urges Jennings to "Bow Out"

Yet another major Florida newspaper has added its voice to the call for Christine Jennings to end her partisan fight over the FL-13 seat. The St. Petersburg Times is telling Howard Dean to "Butt Out" and Jennings to "bow out".

The race's troubling aspects have morphed into absurdity. It is time to bring finality. Jennings should concede defeat and the Democratic Party should butt out.

Jennings accomplished what she set out to do with her initial protest. The state Division of Elections did a thorough audit of touch-screen voting machines used in Sarasota and found no system breakdowns or abnormalities. While that doesn't resolve the mystery, analysis by the media and election experts indicates what likely happened. It appears ballot design played a key role in the undervote. The District 13 candidates were listed on a screen dominated by the governor's race, so voters who hurried could have overlooked them. Many voters reported spotting the mistake on the review screen and correcting it.

Unfortunately, Jennings is still blaming voting machine malfunction for the outcome despite contrary evidence. Perhaps that's because the only reason a court would consider ordering a new election is proof of widespread fraud or machine error. While Floridians should be concerned and election officials more careful about ballot design, there isn't sufficient reason to throw out the results.

It would be a big mistake for House Democrats to heed Dean's advice. No election is perfect, and Americans likely would resent a partisan political effort to interfere in the will of voters, no matter how misguided or inattentive they were in casting their ballots.


It's time for Jennings to bow out and for Democrats to stop fanning fears about electronic voting machines without much more than suspicions.

The SP Times is but the most recent in a string of editorials calling on Jennings to call it quits:
The Tampa Trib: "Time for Jennings to throw in the towel"
The Tampa Trib: "Jennings wants to count until she wins"
Bradenton Herald: "Give it up"

We just wonder when Jennings will get the message.

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