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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Kiss Florida Goodbye 

After reading the article below we have no choice but to conclude the obvious: the Florida voters who tolerate this nonsense from their elected officials are fucking morons, unfit to exercise the franchise. Forget Kerry's lead in the polls and cede the state's electoral votes to Bush:
Almost all the electronic records from the first widespread use of touch-screen voting in Miami-Dade County have been lost, stoking concerns that the machines are unreliable as the presidential election draws near.

The records disappeared after two computer system crashes last year, county elections officials said, leaving no audit trail for the 2002 gubernatorial primary. A citizens group uncovered the loss this month after requesting all audit data from that election.

A county official said a new backup system would prevent electronic voting data from being lost in the future. But members of the citizens group, the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition, said the malfunction underscored the vulnerability of electronic voting records and wiped out data that might have shed light on what problems, if any, still existed with touch-screen machines here. The group supplied the results of its request to The New York Times.

"This shows that unless we do something now - or it may very well be too late - Florida is headed toward being the next Florida," said Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, a lawyer who is the chairwoman of the coalition . . . .

The news of the lost data comes two months after Miami-Dade elections officials acknowledged a malfunction in the audit logs of touch-screen machines. The elections office first noticed the problem in spring 2003, but did not publicly discuss it until this past May . . . .

The flaws would not have affected vote counts, he said - only the backup data used for audits after an election. And because a new state rule prohibits manual recounts in counties that use touch-screen voting machines except in the event of a natural disaster, there would likely be no use for the data anyway.

State officials have said that they created the rule because under state law, the only reason for a manual recount is to determine "voter intent" in close races when, for example, a voter appears to choose two presidential candidates or none.

Touch-screen machines, officials say, are programmed not to record two votes, and if no vote is recorded, they say, it means the voter did not cast one.

But The Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, in a recent analysis of the March presidential primary, reported that voters in counties using touch-screen machines were eight times as likely to record no vote as were voters in counties using optical-scan machines, which read markings on paper ballots.
UPDATE (7/28): More on the inadvertent, accidental implementation of the "flawed" Florida voter-purge list:
Glenda Hood, Florida's secretary of state, on Thursday announced a second internal investigation into how elections officials could have produced a list that included 22,000 blacks, who tend to vote Democratic, but only 61 Hispanics, who typically lean Republican.

She asked her inspector general's office to review the issue in the broader context of how the entire Central Voter Database -- which was used to generate the flawed list of potential felons -- was created in the first place . . . .

[E]arlier this week, the Herald-Tribune reported that the company that produced a felon list in 2000 -- which was criticized because it contained thousands of people who were not felons -- knew as early as 1997 that the two databases could not be linked by race because of the Hispanic mismatch, and had told Department of State officials of the problem.

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