Campaign 2006: Electronic Voting Could Slow Down Returns

By Victoria Langley
November 6, 2006 6:54pm

Supposedly state-of-the-art voting technology is actually making results tougher to tabulate.

Ion Sancho has never been afraid to call state elections officials to task if he thinks voters are getting short changed by the system.

Leon County’s supervisor is ticked off this time because new voting equipment for people with disabilities wasn’t required by the state to sync up with the optical scan equipment used in much of Florida. That means two sets of numbers to count in every precinct using both systems. So even in this age of instant messaging, anxious voters will have to wait longer than in past elections to find out who won.

The problem of these two technologies not communicating with each other didn’t come to light until the primary, when some counties took as long as two days to tally final results.

But state elections officials aren’t especially concerned. After all, says spokesman Sterling Ivey, each county legally has five days to count votes.

"We’re not alarmed," Ivey said. "We know people want results immediately, but we’d rather our supervisors take time to process the results and then report an accurate number as opposed to an expedient number."

It could be a painful wait for candidates and voters in what will likely be several close races.

Critics say the state needs to go back to the drawing board and create a voting system where each type of machine communicates with other. They argue that would leave less room for error and confusion, and get results out more quickly.


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