Sarasota Election will go into a Recount by Mitch E. Perry

11/08/06

There will be an automatic machine recount in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, as Republican Vern Buchanan is barely holding on to a 368-vote edge over Democrat Christine Jennings.

Sarasota Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent made the announcement at noon today(roll tape#1 o.q.�manual recount�)

Vern Buchanan declared victory just before 1 a.m. last night, but Christine Jennings never conceded defeat…..,

Yesterday’s election in Sarasota is clouded with controversy, as nearly 13 percent of all ballots cast in Sarasota didn’t include a choice for Congress. That difference, and scattered reports of difficulty finding the race on Sarasota’s touchscreen ballots, raised concerns about under votes in the race.

As reported by the Sarasota Herald tribune, Supervisor of Elections Dent has not been able to explain why 8,000 to 10,000 fewer people voted in the congressional race than in other high-profile races for governor, attorney general or U.S. Senate. But she said nothing mechanical went wrong with the county’s $4.7 million touchscreen voting machine system. (roll tape#2 o.q.�more to release later�)

The reason for skepticism and criticism about possible lost votes in the Congressional seem to make sense upon inspecting the voting patters…In Sarasota County, with all but one precinct reporting, 87,797 people voted for Bill Nelson, Katherine Harris or another candidate for U.S. Senate. In the governor race between Charlie Crist and Jim Davis, nearly just as many people, over 87,000 county residents voted.

Yet only 76,549 voted for Jennings or Buchanan. In comparison, about 3,000 more people voted in the Sarasota Public Hospital Board election

This afternoon on WMNF’s Radioactivity show, one caller named Kathy told WMNF’s Rob Lorei that she saw a message as she was about to finish voting that indicated to her that her vote on the Buchanon/Jennings race had not been counted (roll tape#3 o.q.�position�)

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