Thursday, November 23, 2006

Dionne: Sarasota County is the canary in the electronic voting coal mine


An Electronic Canary
By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Friday, November 24, 2006; Page A41

Americans can be grateful that Sarasota County is in Florida and not in Montana or Virginia.

There's nothing wrong with Sarasota, a lovely place. But if the voting snafus in the contest for Florida's 13th District had hung up either of this year's two closest Senate races, we still would not know which party had won control of the Senate.

Supporters of new voting technologies have been patting themselves on the back, saying there were no big voting problems this year. Let them go to Sarasota....


Imagine if 18,000 votes had just disappeared in either of the key Senate races. Or imagine a presidential election in which the electoral votes of Florida were decisive and the state was hanging in the balance by -- to pick a number that comes to mind -- 537 votes. And, by the way, in 2000 we could at least see those hanging and dimpled chads. In this case the votes have -- poof! -- simply disappeared.

Despite the Sarasota problem, the state Elections Canvassing Commission certified (Republican Vern) Buchanan's "victory." (Democrat Christine) Jennings has gone to court to demand a new election.

But there is good news here: This is a problem in just one congressional district. Control of the House does not depend on how this race turns out. It is therefore in the interest of both parties, not to mention the country, to be simultaneously aggressive and judicious in figuring out what went wrong in Sarasota and to use that knowledge to fix the nation's voting system before a major disaster strikes. Sarasota is the canary in the electronic coal mine....

1 comment:

Just Say Noe More said...

Sorry if this is a repeat post - but its time for a Constitutional Convention to ratify phased-in term limits for the new Congress and SCOTUS - ty for your public service, NEXT PLEASE