Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving Florida Update

Although Vern Buchanan, the Republican candidate for the House seat in Florida's 13th District has been certified as the winner, Christine Jennings, the Democratic candidate is challenging the results. The final outcome is still very much in the air.

Now, this is the district where 18,000 “undervotes in Sarasota County, the district’s largest jurisdiction and the source of Jennings’ greatest electoral strength" miraculously and myteriously disappeared; it is also the House district of losing Senate candidate and controversial 2000 secretary of state Katherine Harris.

As Congressional Quarterly Politics explains, undervotes in the 13th District represent "votes...registered for other offices but not for the House race between Buchanan and Jennings." Jennings lost by 369 votes.

Where the votes went, no one can explain.

Ultimately, the challenge "could end up before the House Administration Committee, which has oversight over federal elections," Roll Call observes; and with Democrats taking over the House in January, it will be up to Democrats to decide whether to seat Buchanan or not.

Times notes that "in the 1996 Louisiana Senate race, which Democrat Mary L. Landrieu won by a razor-thin margin over Republican Louis “Woody” Jenkins," the challenger also claimed voter fraud.

Although the Republicans who then held a Senate majority seated Landrieu when Congress convened in January 1997, they later authorized an investigation of the election.

The matter was not concluded until that October, when the Senate Rules Committee voted unanimously to uphold Landrieu’s victory, ruling that Jenkins had failed to provide sufficient evidence of fraud.

With so many votes inexplicably vanishing into the ether, the national Democratic Party has weighed in with $$$ to help pay for the legal cost of the recount and challenge.

Even before butterfly ballots and the 2000 Florida voting fiasco, the Sunshine State has had an ignoble history of voter fraud. In March 1998, a judge overturned the 1997 Miami mayor's election between Xavier Suárez and Joe Carollo, the initial results drowning from voter fraud.

Ruling in the case almost a decade ago, Circuit Judge Thomas Wilson said, "The evidence presented in the case clearly demonstrated fraud and abuse of the absentee ballot laws," as he ordered entire new elections within 60 days.

Let's face it; there is no logical explanation for the missing 15,000 votes; and to preserve election integrity, voters in the 13th District are entitled to full and legitimate representation in Congress.

This really brings to light how "lucky"(if you want to call it that) we are to live in a state with relatively few voting problems. I probably wouldn't be nearly half as confident as I am that my vote would be counted if I lived in Florida or Ohio, among others.
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