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Congressional District 13 Back in Leon Court

December 19th, 2006 by Mike Vasilinda

December 19, 2006
Lawyers for the Sarasota Congressional candidate who lost by less than 400 votes were in court today arguing that 18 thousand ballots not cast were a result of machine error. But as Mike Vasilinda reports, human not machine error was what the machines makers says caused the problem.
Neither candidate was in the courtroom. Christine Jennings attorney told the court that it wanted the voting machine code to prove that something went terrible wrong with the machines. Lawyer Mark Heron told the court “That the electronic voting system failed to record the votes of a number of voters, sufficient to place in doubt or change the result of the election.”
But Miguel de Grandy, the lawyer for ES & S, the maker of the voting machines, told the court that it shouldn’t make it turn over confidential data. “Your honor will see that even election department volunteers, who were given a script of votes to cast, and who knew exactly the purpose of the test, made mistakes.”
Dr. Charles Stewart, a nationally known voting expert from MIT compared how the under voters cast ballots in other races, and then concluded that if they had voted in Congressional District 13, and all of the votes had been counted, Christine Jennings would have won. Lawyer Sam Hirsh asked Stewart, “What is your best estimate of Christine Jennings likely winning margin if we had had a normal undervote vote in Sarasota County? Stewart replied “Just under 31 hundred votes.”
The Hearing continues Wednesday. Regardless how the court rules, Congress will decide who represents Sarasota come January.

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