Crist to advocate for paper trial

01/31/07
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday

Florida Governor Charlie Crist is expected to announce tomorrow that he intends on spending tens of millions of dollars to replace Florida's electronic voting machines with systems that provide a clear paper trail.

The move comes after years of calls from voting rights advocates for a clear paper trail, calls that have been dismissed by Florida’s previous governor, Jeb Bush, and his various Secretaries of State.

 

But Crist – who mentioned seemingly on as an afterthought in a debate with Jim Davis that he favored a paper trail – apparently will announce such a move tomorrow when he speaks in Delray Beach with Democratic Congressman Robert Wexler.

 

The Associated Press is reporting that the Governor will propose spending some $20 million dollars to insure that state voting machines can produce a paper trail.  The Miami Herald reports it could be as much as $33 million dollars.

 

Kinda Muntz is with SAFE- The Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections.  Her group won an initiative on the Sarasota ballot that would ensure that the County eliminate touch screen voting machines (roll tape#1 o.q.” takes that action”)

 

Optical Scan machines would likely become the new voting machine of choice for those counties that currently use electronic voting equipment.

 

But some would prefer that the state simply buy touch screen voting machines that produce paper ballots. 

 

Although the request comes from the Governor’s office, it would have to be approved by the legislature.   Kindra Muntz from the Sarasota Alliance for Fair Election says she would be stunned if they didn’t go ahead and approve Crist’s proposal (roll tape#2 o.q.”for all of us”)

 

 Touch-screen machines have been the focus of the contested congressional race in Florida’s 13th District between Vern Buchanan and Christine Jennings.  Roughly 18,000 Sarasota County voters failed to cast a ballot in that race last November, an issue that some have blamed on poor ballot design, but others on the problems with the electronic voting machines. 

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