Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Printed-ballot case to get early hearing

By Herald Staff, The Miami Herald, 1/27/04

Florida Congressman Robert Wexler has filed a lawsuit claiming the use of paperless computerized voting systems in his state violates state manual recount laws. His lawsuit will be heard by a Palm Beach Circuit judge on February 6. Here's an excerpt:

The suit responds to critics who say the current system doesn't give voters a way to be sure that the button they touch on a screen actually translates to the vote they intend. And, Wexler contends, state law requires a way to recount ballots by hand in close races. Now that's not possible -- as Broward officials discovered after a recent special election.

Ellyn Bogdanoff's tiny margin of victory in state House District 91 -- 12 votes -- triggered an automatic recount under state law. But there were no ballots to count -- only a series of 1's and 0's on a tape inside each machine.

Wexler said he was pleased with the court's agreement to an expedited hearing in the case. The judge set a hearing on preliminary motions for Feb. 6.

Also on Monday, Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach county commissioners called for the state Legislature to require a ballot-by-ballot paper record of votes cast on electronic voting machines. The Palm Beach Post contributed to this report.

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