Governor Making Moves to Abandon Florida's Touch Screen Voting

1-31-07

Critics of touch screen voting systems finally have a sympathetic ear at the Capitol. Gov. Charlie Crist confirmed he’ll recommend scrapping the machines and going with a statewide paper trail system instead.

Gov. Charlie Crist said, "You go to an ATM machine, you can get some kind of record. You go to a gas station, you can get a record of that, so if there’s a need for a recount, then I think it’s important that you have something to recount."

The announcement follows last fall’s disputed congressional race between Christine Jennings and Vern Buchanan that again thrust Florida into the national spotlight. Jennings still contends she would have won if touch screen machines hadn’t somehow failed to record 18,000 votes.

Crist’s intention of going to a statewide paper trail is not a total surprise. He said as much on the campaign trail, but it’s a complete reversal from the policies of the Bush administration.

Reggie Mitchell with People for the American Way spent the last several election cycles fighting for a paper trail. He’s thrilled the new governor is also pledging tens of millions of state dollars to make it happen.

Reggie Mitchell said, "We’re truly excited about it, and what’s great most about it is not only is he giving us the paper trail that we’ve been asking for, but he’s putting his money where his mouth is."

Crist’s paper trail proposal will still need to win the votes of the Legislature this spring.

Look for Gov. Charlie Crist to formally announce plans for a statewide paper ballot system during a joint news conference in south Florida Thursday with Florida Congressman Robert Wexler.


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