By John Gideon on 9/27/2006, 9:02am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

In this segment from yesterday, Kitty Pilgrim reports on Florida and their failure to provide recountable ballots for half of the voters in the state. Congressman Wexler wants to do something about that and he has now taken his case to the US Supreme Court.

The text-transcript of tonight's segment on Lou Dobbs Tonight follows in full...

DOBBS: Tonight, a congressman is so alarmed at the lack of a paper trail in electronic voting machines that he's taking his case all the way to the Supreme Court. Congressman Robert Wexler says voters who cast their ballots on touch screen voting machines that do not issue a paper receipt are being denied their constitutional rights. Kitty Pilgrim reports.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Florida desperately wants to get beyond the spectacles of hanging chads in the botched elections of 2000. But Florida may be at risk again; 52 counties in Florida use optical scan voting machines, that can have a manual recount. But 15 other counties, representing half of voters, use touch screen electronic voting systems, without a paper trail. Systems that cannot be recounted if there is a close election.

Congressman Robert Wexler, of Florida, has filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, using 2000 as the reason they should hear the case. He's arguing that because there is no paper trail in some counties, all voters are not given equal rights.

REP. ROBERT WEXLER (D), FLORIDA: The right to have one's vote counted on equal terms with other voters is an essential part of the constitutional right to vote. And in Florida now, we have a state law which requires a manual recount in close elections. Just based on where you vote, or the machine that your county uses, shouldn't determine the likelihood of whether or not your vote gets counted.

PILGRIM: Wexler's case was dismissed by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in June. But he argues that because different opinions have been issued by different federal circuit courts on this same issue, his lawsuit should be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, to reconcile the different rulings.

Wexler points to other states, such as Maryland's Governor Robert Ehrlich, who have challenged the accuracy of touch screen voting machines and demanded a paper trail. Florida Fair Elections Coalition supports Wexler's appeal to the U.S. Supreme court. Telling LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, "We believe the paperless system is a threat to democracy due to the secret software, and the lack of accountability there is not way to assure votes are recorded as the machines say they are."


PILGRIM: Congressman Wexler filed this case last week. He's hoping the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case in the upcoming term, Lou.

DOBBS: Kitty, thank you very much. Kitty Pilgrim.

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