The mystery deepens about what happened to thousands of Sarasota County votes during Tuesday’s election. Sarasota Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent says the touch screen machines ran well. Supporters of congressional candidate Christine Jennings say they fear their votes may not have been counted. Miami attorney Kendall Coffey has been brought in by Jennings to monitor the recount and coordinate the investigation.
“We’re continuing with an investigation that is not driven by Chris Jennings or her lawyers, but is a spontaneous combustion of outcry from this community.”
Coffey says hundreds of people experienced a computer glitch when using the touch screen machines. Despite some 18-thousand potentially unaccounted votes, Jennings’ opponent Vern Buchanan has already declared victory. He tells Republican leaders he’ll be in Washington Monday for congressional orientation. While he’s gone recounts begin in Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto Counties. State law requires the recount because Buchanan’s margin of victory is less than one-half of one-percent. At last count Jennings trails Buchanan by 368 votes.
Former U-S Attorney Kendall Coffey says it may never be known what happened to 18-thousand votes in Sarasota County’s congressional race. Coffey is representing Democrat Christine Jennings in her bid to win the seat being vacated by Katherine Harris. Her opponent Republican Vern Buchanan leads the race by 368 votes. Coffey questions the county’s Supervisor of Elections theory that people didn’t vote because they were turned off by the candidates.
“The real rebuttal to the supervisor’s thesis is if people were not interested in this race then why is there such a spectacular differential between absentee and machine? The only explanation for that is machine failure.”
Kathy Dent insists the county’s touch screen machines ran flawlessly. Coffey questions why 13-percent of people using the machines failed to vote in the Jennings-Buchanan race – while only 2-percent of people voting by absentee ballot left that race blank. Coffey says outside experts need to inspect the touch screen machines. A voter-passed referendum mandates a countywide switch to paper ballots before the 2008 election.
Friday, 10 November 2006 00:00
KendellWritten by WGCU Newsroom