Brit Hume aired the spot on Sarasota's July 8th mock election at 6:15 rather than 6:30 tonight. The mock election was a good way to introduce the new voting process to the public. It is clear the process is simple, easy, and will surely save the county money over time with machines that are much less expensive to maintain than the old DRE touch screens. Now all voters in Sarasota County can have paper ballots, including the disabled. The AutoMark ballot marker works like a charm.
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Voters like paper ballots, but know we need post-election audits to verify machine counts. That is still the missing piece. System audits prior to elections are only part of the equation.
Concerned voters want bottom-line audits (spot-checks) of machine tallies compared to hand-counts of paper ballots in enough races to provide reassurance that the machines are working right on Election Day. Our Florida legislature has given us an audit of only 1-2% of one race, randomly selected. That is too little, too late. It is done after the election is certified, which makes it a historical anecdote, not a tool for ensuring that the election is accurate.
We want election supervisors who strive for accurate, transparent elections, and welcome audits rather than run from them.
We want a state legislature that champions the rights of all citizens to vote, and knows that "We the people" should be picking our elected officials, not elected officials picking their voters by gerrymandering districts so they can stay in office.
We love paper ballots. Finally voters have an independent record of their votes that can be used for audits and recounts as needed. And yes, we need meaningful recount laws in Florida, not the inadequate recount law our Florida legislature has given us. We must never have another election debacle like that in 2000.
All counties using electronic optical scan voting machines need to check the machine counts at the close of the election to make sure they match the ballots. That includes all 52 counties in Florida that have been using optical scanners for the past six years, plus the 15 touch screen counties that are just now converting to the latest model scanners with new software unproven in the marketplace. We must never again "trust without verifying" election results and become guinea pigs for a new technology.
If our county charter amendment prevails at the Florida Supreme Court, Sarasota County may pave the way for our state legislature to require meaningful audits for all of Florida.
This is our democracy we are trying to preserve.
Kindra Muntz, President
Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections (SAFE)
Co-Founder, Florida Voters Coalition
Member, VoteTrustUSA Leaders Group