ALSO: Non-Partisan Election Integrity Groups To Sue for Revote in U.S. House Race, Announce Press Conference (News Release Posted Here in Full)
By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2006, 3:12pm PT  

Below are screenshots from the much-discussed first two pages of the Sarasota, Florida, ballot as seen on the paperless ES&S touch-screens on November 7th, 2006. Some 18,000 voters did not register a vote in the 13th Congressional district race between Christine Jennings and Vern Buchanan. Or, at least, the ES&S voting machines failed to register their vote in any case.

When we first received these screenshots, it took us three or four times scrolling through them before we could even find the Jennings/Buchanan race. But see below and decide for yourselves.

Several non-partisan Election Integrity groups will be filing suit tomorrow in Florida to call for a re-vote in the election. The public-interest watchdog groups claim that voters were disenfranchised by the thousands in the race due to poor ballot design and a faulty voting system. A press conference tomorrow has been scheduled for Tuesday at 1pm ET on the steps of the Sarasota County Courthouse (the news release announcing the presser is posted in full at the end of this article).

A lawsuit contesting the results and calling for a new election was filed this morning by Jennings and, as The BRAD BLOG reported earlier today, Buchanan held a press conference this morning in which he called on Jennings to "stop listening" to the Election Integrity groups which he says "have hijacked the election." (Full video, transcript here.)

Buchanan's call for Jennings to concede comes despite the 18,000 lost votes and the microscopic 367 vote margin between the two of them as reported in the now-officially certified results.

Full-sized screenshots of the complete ballot can be downloaded here [PDF, 7.5mb]. Screenshots of the first two pages, resized to fit on The BRAD BLOG --- where the Jennings/Buchanan race can be seen spilling over to the second page of the "ballot," above the more clearly defined "STATE" races follow...

UPDATE 5:42pm PT: Pam Haengel, President of the non-partisan Voting Integrity Alliance of Tampa Bay, contacts us to mention they believe it was not only the easy-to-miss position of the Jennings/Buchanan race on the ballot which led to the massive undervote percentage.

She tells us the folks on the ground there believe something else was definitely amiss, as an obscure down-ticket Hospital Board race (see page 6 of the PDF screenshot collection) had a similar layout to the Jennings/Buchanan race, yet received at least 3,000 more votes. Haengel points out many voters who have reported they tried twice to register their votes in Jennings/Buchanan after their original selection failed to show up on their summary screen at the end of the voting process, suggesting a technical malfunction in the paperless ES&S touch-screen machines.

As well, she adds that Florida's 13th district comprises some five Florida counties, none of which --- other than Sarasota --- had the same kind of massive undervote numbers in Jennings/Buchanan as occurred on the ES&S systems in Sarasota. That last point, of course, along with the very low undervote rate on paper absentee ballots, counters the notion being presented by Buchanan and the GOP that voters simply chose not to vote in that race since they didn't like either candidate.

The news release on tomorrow's press conference to announce a lawsuit by a number of non-partisan Election Integrity organizations follows in full...

November 21, 2006

Drew Courtney or Nick Berning (PFAWF) – 202-467-4999
Brandon Hensler (ACLU) – 786-363-2722

Florida Voters to Sue for Revote In Sarasota Congressional Race

Voter Action, People For the American Way Foundation, the ACLU of Florida, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation will hold a press conference tomorrow to announce a lawsuit calling for a revote in Sarasota County’s portion of Florida’s 13th Congressional District.

Speakers at the event will include Reggie Mitchell of PFAWF, Lowell Finley of Voter Action, and Larry Spalding of ACLU-Florida. The event will also feature one of the Sarasota voters who will be plaintiffs in the suit.

1 p.m.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Front Steps of the Leon County Courthouse (2nd Judicial Circuit)
301 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32301

Reggie Mitchell, Florida Legal Counsel, People For the American Way Foundation
Lowell Finley, Co-Director, Voter Action
Larry Spalding, Legislative Counsel, ACLU-Florida

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