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Florida Recount Reveals Grave Voting Problems

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Florida Primary Recount Reveals Grave Voting Problems One Month Before Presidential Election

By Kim Zetter
October 07, 2008 | 8:00:00 PM

For full story see...
Florida Primary Recount

A month of primary recounts in the election battleground of Palm Beach County, Florida, has twice flipped the winner in a local judicial race and revealed grave problems in the county's election infrastructure, including thousands of misplaced ballots and vote tabulation machines that are literally unable to produce the same results twice.

Experts say the brew of administrative bungling and mysterious technological failures raises new and troubling questions about the county that played a crucial role in the 2000 presidential election debacle, and is one of a handful of counties considered pivotal in the upcoming presidential election. Voting advocates are fearful that problems here -- and perhaps in other election hot spots -- could trigger a replay of the disputed 2000 election.

"It doesn't get any more swing than that swing state," said Pamela Smith, president of election-integrity group Verified Voting, "and that's a major county. This is going to be a very high-turnout election. In any election you should be able to have justifiable confidence in the outcome. If you're having different results every time you count the ballots, that's not going to create confidence."

At issue is an Aug. 26 primary election in which officials discovered, during a recount of a close judicial race, that more than 3,400 ballots had mysteriously disappeared after they were initially counted on election day. The recount a week later, minus the missing ballots, flipped the results of the race to a different winner.

The county eventually found the missing ballots after a prolonged hunt. But it also turned up an additional 200 or so ballots that officials never knew were missing and that were never counted in the original tabulation of the race. A recently completed recount -- with all of the ballots -- has restored victory to the original winner. But the month-long saga has left voters and state officials exasperated and distrustful of the ability of county officials to run a competent general election in November. More important, it's also uncovered perplexing problems in some of the county's high-speed optical-scan tabulation machines, made by Sequoia Voting Systems. The machines flunked reliability tests prompted by the recount -- producing different results for the same batch of ballots.

For full story see...
Florida Primary Recount

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