Time for the left to get their annual tin foil hat adjustment. And judging by the news coming out of Florida’s 13th Congressional District, they may wish to start saving up their Crackerjack boxtops to buy a new model:
An audit of touch-screen voting machines at the center of a dispute in a congressional election found no evidence of malfunction, Florida’s secretary of state said Friday.
Florida election officials announced yesterday that an examination of voting software did not find any malfunctions that could have caused up to 18,000 votes to be lost in a disputed Congressional race in Sarasota County, and they suggested that voter confusion over a poor ballot design was mainly to blame.
The finding, reached unanimously by a team of computer experts from several universities, could finally settle last fallâ€™s closest federal election. The Republican candidate, Vern Buchanan, was declared the winner by 369 votes, but the Democrat, Christine Jennings, formally contested the results, claiming that the touch-screen voting machines must have malfunctioned.
So if the code was good, what might have been the problem?
While some voters in Sarasota bristled yesterday at the idea that they had done anything wrong in casting their votes, or that nearly 13 percent of all voters could have failed to spot the race on the ballot, members of the investigative team said that those remained the only plausible theories.
The report acknowledged that the huge undervote â€” in which voters cast a ballot in other races but not for the Congressional seat â€” was both â€œabnormal and unexpected.â€ But it said that all eight members of the investigative team, including some experts who have long been skeptical about the paperless machines, agreed that the basic programming â€œdid not cause or contribute toâ€ the loss of votes.
The study suggested instead that the confusion over the ballot design, which had also drawn complaints from voters, probably accounted for the bulk of the problem, much as the infamous â€œbutterfly ballotâ€ distorted the vote in Palm Beach County, Fla., during the 2000 presidential election.
Evidently, the paper ballots were able to highlight the race for Congressman (or at least set it apart) while the ballot that appeared on the touchscreen was extremely difficult to read. Also, if a voter touched his choice more than once, the vote was negated – obviously to guard against someone being able to stand at the machine and vote numerous times.
It is probable that this was not explained to voters very well which means that around 18,000 people either missed the Congressional choice on the ballot due to the confused layout on the screen or hit their choice twice – about 13% of the total vote.
Because the netnuts triumphed in November, we haven’t heard very much about evil Diebold stealing elections. This begs the question: Did Diebold screw up or is the left full of crap when it comes to election conspiracies?
Just as soon as I get my marching orders from Evil Karl via thought waves, I’ll let you know.