The Sarasota Triangle: Why America Needs to Examine the Election in Florida’s 13th District
Once Again, Election Officials Blame the Voters and Defend the Machines

By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA

November 12, 2006

The reported results in the race to determine who will serve the citizens of Florida’s 13th District pose questions that strike at the core of debate over the merit of computerized voting systems. A recount is inevitable given Republican Vern Buchanan’s razor thin margin of 368 votes over Democrat Christine Jennings. But a ‘recount’ will not answer the serious questions that the results raise.

The exquisitely gerrymandered 13th District lies south of Tampa and is dominated by Sarasota and Manatee Counties. The media has noted the inexplicably high under vote rate in Sarasota, with most reports citing a rate of over 13%. According to the reported results over 18,362 of the Sarasotans that voted in this election were unconcerned about who would represent them in the 110th Congress.

But it’s actually much worse than most of the media is reporting. The actual under vote in the precincts is 16.17%. The reason the media is reporting 13% is they do not know that the under votes on absentee (paper) ballots is 2.6%. The average (weighted for the greater number of precinct votes) for both absentee ballots and precinct votes is 13%. Absentee voters in Sarasota County voted on paper ballots counted by optical scanners while those who voted at early voting centers and at polling places on Election Day voted on ES&S iVotronic touchscreen voting machines.


The fact that the under vote is 2.6% for absentee ballots reveals the falacy of the argument that the race was very ugly, turning off voters, thus a whole bunch of people did not vote in the race. How can it be that the nasty campaign only affected voters who voted on touch screen voting machines and not their neighbors that voted on paper? (And it can’t be explained away by any late and particularly vicious ads, since voters were early voting – or ‘not voting’ according to the results – for two weeks before the election on the touch screen machines as well.)…

Interactive Undervote map Jennings vs. Buchanan, Sarasota FL…

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