Voting Advocates not happy in Tallahassee04/11/07 Mitch E. Perry
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Senate finally unveiled its election-reform plan a $28 million proposal that would meet Governor Charlie Crist's demand to get rid of most touch-screen voting in Florida.
At issue yesterday was more a question of where the funding to pay for a change in voting systems might come from. The Chairman of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee, says that both the Senate and The House doesn’t have the funds, and therefore the state should use federal money from the Help America Act Fund.
The hearing was preceded a day earlier by voting rights activists, who say they’re pleased that Governor Crist wants to rid the state of electronic voting, but they still have concerns.
Susan Pynchon is with the Florida Voters Coalition. She provides an analogy to those who say that such advocates should be satisfied that the state is switching to a paper based voting system (roll tape#1 o.q.”without these other things”)
On Monday, the Florida Voters Coalition held a news conference in Tallahassee to indicate other items that they hope the legislature addresses regarding voting issues.
One of those items – “A ballot on Demand “ system, in which even early voters get a paper ballot instead of at touch screen, was addressed on Tuesday by the Ethics and Elections Committee.
But another issue that the Coalition cares deeply about is to extend the now 30 day deadline before certifying election results, to allow more time for challenges. Susan Pynchon from the Florida Voters Coalition says Florida’s deadline is shorter than many other states (roll tape#2 o.q.”get that changed back”)
Also during the hearing before the Senate Ethics and Elections Commission, Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark said she is 1 Supervisor of elections who does NOT want to switch back to optical scan voting machines.
Clark told the Committee, “''I'm a touch-screen county, my voters like touch screens,'' ''I would ask you to consider giving the voters of my county the option of keeping touch-screen voting.''
WMNF called Supervisor of Elections Clark for clarification of her remarks. We were told she was in Tallahasee, and would not be able to respond.