Jennings camp upset about undocumented memo by Mitch E. Perry03/14/07
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
Supporters of Democratic Congressional candidate Christine Jennings are unhappy upon learning that a voting machine manufacturer warned state elections officials AND Sarasota County's Supervisor of Elections of an "issue" with its equipment months before the disputed election that November – but that no changes were made.
The Sarasota Herald Tribune reported today that even though Election Systems & Software recommended in the August 15th memo that all of its Florida customers -- including Sarasota County -- train poll workers and voters to expect slow responses on the touch-screen voting machines when their selections were made, Sarasota Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent said the state determined it was too close to the election to make any changes.
Dent also told the Herald Tribune that instructions on how to use the iVotronic machines at polling sites seemed to cover what ES&S recommended.
But The Jennings camp isn’t buying that. David Kochman is a spokesman for Christine Jennings (roll tape#1 o.q.”and they just didn’t install the patch”)
In the memo,, ES&S regional account manager Linda Bennett says "after a number of inquiries" ES&S verified that voting machines were showing slow response times. They pinpointed the problem to a "smoothing filter" that delayed selections after a voter touched the screen.
After a recount, Republican Vern Buchanan deafeated Jennings by just 369 votes, and was certified the winner. But Jennings has protested that vote…The case is now before a State Appeals Court.
There was 18,000 so called undervotes in the race – an indication that Jennings supporters say showed that there was something seriously wrong with the voting machines. Again, Jennings spokesman David Kochman (roll tape#2 o.q.”didn’t follow up on it”)
Jennings is also petitioning the U.S. House to overturn the election results. The House is expected to investigate after the Florida courts rule
Meanwhile Yesterday in Tallahassee, several voting rights advocates testified in front of a Senate Committee that optical scan ballots are the only way to go as the state transitions to a paper based system of voting.
In January, Governor Charlie Crist announced his plan to provide $32 and a half million dollars to provide paper trails for all votes.
But Crist’s plan would provide printer attachments for some touch-screen machines and replace others with optical scanners. While most advocates told the Committee on Ethics and Elections that the printers are not reliable because they could compromise voter privacy and the paper could jam easily.
Susan Pynchon is the Executive Director of the Florida Fair Elections Coalition. She says optical scan is the way to go (roll tape#1 o.q.”DRE’s with printers”)
Leon County’s iconoclaustic Supervisor of Elections, Ian Sancho, also testified against putting printers on electronic voting machines, saying, “Putting lipstick on a pig doesn’t really change the character of the creature. It’s still a pig”.
But Secretary of State Kurt Browning said he has confidence in the printers.
Voting activist Susan Pynchon says that is NOT what she hoped to hear from the state’s top elections official (roll tape#2 o.q.”It is a failed technology”)
There are currently 5 bill in the Florida Senate that would mandate a paper trail system for voting and several more in the State House.