Voting Concerns

There’s been a public outcry in recent weeks by people concerned over the reliability of the touch screen voting machines 15 Florida counties will use on election day.

State Sen. Ron Klein is not one of them. He’s fine with the touch screens, but he and House Minority Leader Doug Wiles want people who are concerned to have the option of using the optical scan machines. Each county already has to count absentee ballots.

Klein says, “What we’re offering here is choice. For the voters who are uncomfortable with it for whatever reason, that we just give them the choice of a paper ballot.”

Florida’s democratic leaders sent a letter to Gov. Jeb Bush urging him to make optical scan voting machines available to voters in touch screen counties. The democrats say it’s not about politics.

“This is simply about providing an accountable, confident opportunity for everyone who votes to ensure they’re comfortable with their vote and that their vote is going to be counted.”

But the secretary of state’s office reacted with frustration. The agency insists touch screens have worked successfully in hundreds of local elections over the past two years, and there’s no reason to put an optical scan machine in every precinct even if it were doable.

“In touch screen counties, each precinct does not have an optical scan machine. They’re centrally located, again, for the specific purpose of tabulating absentee ballots.”

Elections officials say there’s no history of problems with the touch screens and they’re tired of the questions, but with Floridians still smarting from the 2000 debacle, it may be too much to expect complete confidence in any voting system.