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Recount Ballots? Only in the Movies

June 10th, 2008 by Mike Vasilinda

The state spent almost 40 million dollars this year to help 15 counties switch from touch screen to optical scan voting machines. The idea was to have a verifiable paper trail, but as Mike Vasilinda tells us, a close election doesnt mean every vote will now be counted.

Hear it Here: Recount Ballots? Only in the Movies

The ballots from the 2000 election still occupy 4 thousand cubic feet in the state archives. They have never been fully counted by hand. For many, this scene of canvassing boards holding the ballots up to the light is a vivid memory of the closest election in history. It is a scene you wont see this election.

Unlike 2000 when supervisors could look at every ballot, current law says there can not be a manual recount, not matter how close the election.

Florida law does have a section titled Manual Recount. But even the states top election official, Secretary of State Kurt Browning says the title is a sham:

Its just to make sure an over vote is an over vote and an under vote is an under vote. Thats it. Theres no manual counting of ballots where you are going to put Jones ballots in one pile and Smiths ballots in another.

After spending almost 40 million dollars to switch from touch screens to a paper trail, Florida is no closer to knowing the actual result of a close election than it was in 2000.
Leon supervisor Ion Sancho says the law needs to be changed.

Florida has made the decision to go with speed and finality over accuracy, says Sancho.

Ironically, it was big county elections supervisors who this spring blocked a change in law that would have allowed a full manual recount.

State law does allow an after election audit of one to two percent of the votes cast to check machine accuracy, but it does not specify the audit has to be in a race that might be too close to call.

Posted in Charlie Crist, Elections, Legislature, State News, Voting | No Comments »

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