As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, December 21, 2006

FL-13: And Away We Go

Well, it looks like Christine Jennings is taking her fight for a new election in the 13th District straight to the House.

The Democrat who narrowly lost to a Republican in the race to replace Rep. Katherine Harris asked Congress on Wednesday for an investigation.

The state has declared that Democrat Christine Jennings lost to Republican Vern Buchanan by 369 votes. But 18,000 Sarasota County electronic ballots did not record a choice in the race, and Jennings contends that the number is abnormally high and that the machines lost the votes.

She filed with the House clerk an official contest of the election results in Florida's 13th Congressional District.

She said she will ask Congress to consider ordering a revote if her legal challenge in Florida fails. She is seeking to obtain the programming code for the touch-screen voting machines to determine whether a bug or malicious programming could have lost votes. The state has found no evidence of malfunction.

The company that makes the machines, Electronic Systems & Software Inc., is fighting the effort, saying its programming is a trade secret.

"It's not about me. It's about a revote," Jennings said by telephone from Washington. "I am not trying in any way to tell Congress what they should do. I am simply doing this for the integrity of our voting system."

This is well within the law, as the House Administration Committee is the ultimate arbiter of all federal elections. Meanwhile the Jennings team was in court yesterday, where ES&S is trying as hard as they can to keep the source code out of any expert hands. The judge is likely to make a decision tomorrow.

I guess the Democratic House is going to seat Vern Buchanan, and then deal with the election as it winds its way through the courts. Voting rights advocates need to keep the pressure on and make sure this doesn't go away. This could easily have happened anywhere there is electronic voting, and it could have affected the balance of power in Congress. We cannot sustain this broken system.