Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Florida -- More Officials Seek Paper Vote Files

By Rachel Konrad, The Associated Press, September 29, 2004


On Monday, a federal appeals court revived a lawsuit filed by Florida Democratic Rep. Robert Wexler, who is demanding that all touch-screen voting machines in Florida produce a paper record of every vote cast.

A three-judge panel in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals told a federal judge in Fort Lauderdale to reopen the case, which could affect 15 Florida counties whose electronic voting terminals do not issue paper records.

Wexler claims that paperless ballots cannot be recounted as accurately as those cast on paper. He sued state election officials, arguing that the Constitution would be violated by a voting system that varies from county to county.

"I became involved because my district was the butterfly ballot district in 2000," Wexler, a Democrat who represents parts of Palm Beach and Broward counties, said Monday. "My constituents are extremely sensitive about the fact that many of their votes weren't counted."


Critics say such systems expose elections to hackers, software bugs and hardware failures and cannot be accurately recounted. They are urging election officials to ban paperless machines -- and provide stacks of paper ballots instead.

"You can't go into an election without clear procedures at the outset describing how recounts will be conducted," said e-voting critic Kim Alexander, president of the California Voter Foundation. "The only truly meaningful recount is to recount the voter's paper record."

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