Monday, November 20, 2006

Lawsuits Coming in Sarasota's Disastrous 13th District U.S. House Race in Florida

Posted at

Candidate, as well as Non-Partisan Groups, Lining up for Legal Action, Demanding Investigation, Re-Vote, Accountability

Election Supervisor Kathy Dent — Directly Responsible for the Mess — Has Yet to Resign…

The BRAD BLOG has learned that several lawsuits are likely to be launched this week in the Sarasota, Florida, election meltdown where some 18,000 votes failed to register on the county's paperless ES&S touch-screen voting systems on November 7th. Fewer than 400 votes currently divide candidates Vern Buchanan (R) and Christine Jennings (D), who are vying to fill disgraced former Sec. of State Katherine Harris's U.S. House seat in Florida's 13th congressional district.

A number of sources have confirmed to The BRAD BLOG that Jennings's legal team — who previously filed court papers to impound voting machines and data for a possible investigation — are preparing to file legal action to challenge the legitimacy of the race, perhaps as soon as this week.

As well, non-partisan legal election watchdog has announced they will be filing suit this week along with People for the American Way Foundation, the ACLU of Florida, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Common Cause. Velvet (of which The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder) is also joining in support of the action. A plea to citizens by Voter Action, seeking help in funding the lawsuit, follows in full at the end of this article.

This graf, from Voter Action's announcement, is of particular note in light of our own previous call for the resignation of Sarasota's atrocious Supervisor of Elections, Kathy Dent — the person responsible, perhaps more than any other, for leading her constituents into this otherwise avoidable debacle [emphasis in original]:

This is an unparalleled opportunity to shed light on the continuing election crisis that plagues Florida, to expose the problems inherent in electronic voting systems, and to demonstrate the harm that can be caused by elections officials with a pro-vendor and anti-voter bias.

Sarasota's Herald-Tribune has been doing a very good job of covering the mess since it happened (if not prior to its occurring when something might actually have been done to avoid it).

Today, Herald-Trib columnist Rich Brooks joins the drumbeat of those calling for a full re-vote, writing this weekend: "[I]t's clear that a special election is needed to ensure a fair process. That's preferable to sending the wrong representative to Washington."

In an article on the many phone calls received from Sarasota voters detailing their experiences in trying to vote in the 13th District race, the Herald-Tribune reports today:

The vast majority of voters interviewed by the Herald-Tribune reported one of two major problems.

Either they couldn't find the District 13 race as they scrolled through their voting screens (about 36 percent) or their votes for either candidate did not initially register on the ballot summary page (more than 62 percent).

[M]any of the voters interviewed bristled at the notion that they were somehow careless or clueless and thus missed the race. Most of them — ranging in age from 19 to 91 — were keenly interested in the race and were familiar with touch-screen technology.

The most prevalent problem callers reported encountering happened when they touched a candidate's name, only to find that their vote hadn't registered on the ballot review page

Clearly, had Dent simply chosen a voting technology that would have allowed voters to express their intent on a paper ballot, this mess could never have occurred. Dent has gone out of her way for years to ensure that Sarasota voters would have no way of avoiding the problem they now face. Hopefully the courts will offer a way for the voters to express their actual intent in this important House election.

And the most important hope of all: That this election underscores everything that is wrong with E-Voting in our country and that we must do away (at the very least) with touch-screen voting systems…with or without a "paper trail."

Voter Action's announcement of their intended legal action and a plea for support follows in full…

Nonpartisan Investigation of Sarasota County, Florida Undervotes in the 7 November 2006 General Election

Shining a Light on the Sunshine State – Can you help?

Voter Action Co-Director and election law attorney Lowell Finley has been in Sarasota since November 9th, investigating the 18,000 missing votes from Florida’s District 13 congressional race in that county. Today, Voter Action is pleased to announce that the People for the American Way Foundation, the ACLU of Florida, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Common Cause are joining this effort on behalf of the voters of Sarasota County, regardless of party affiliation. Based on previous experience and success in the courts to block the use of electronic voting systems across the U.S. and the strength of our new partners, Voter Action is well poised to move this investigation forward and , if as it increasingly appears will be necessary, to file suit to get to the bottom of what happened.

The purpose of this investigation and potential legal action is to

  1. Get to the bottom of what happened through legal discovery
  2. File legal action on behalf of the voters of Sarasota challenging the validity of the election if need be.
  3. Protect the integrity of future elections in Sarasota County, the State of Florida, and the nation.

But in order to do this we need your help. Voter Action needs to raise funds very quickly to continue its work in Sarasota. Even with the legal and organizing assistance of our new partners, we must raise an estimated $45,000.00.

This is an unparalleled opportunity to shed light on the continuing election crisis that plagues Florida, to expose the problems inherent in electronic voting systems, and to demonstrate the harm that can be caused by elections officials with a pro-vendor and anti-voter bias.

Please donate now and share this email with your friends! Donations to this effort are tax deductible.

Because we are working on behalf of voters and not a candidate or political party, all donations are tax deductible to the full extent permitted by law and can be made through our fiscal sponsor, the International Humanities Center, a 501(c)(3) organization through the Voter Action website.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Putnam Wants To Know: Where Were The Rednecks?

“White rednecks” who “didn’t show up to vote for us” partly cost GOPers their cong. majorities, Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL) told fellow Republicans today. And Putnam, seeking the post of GOP conference chair, chided ex-Chair J.C. Watts (R-OK) for ruining the conference’s ability to serve its members.

Three Republicans in the room independently confirmed to the Hotline the substance and context of Putnam’s remarks. But Putnam’s chief of staff insists that the remarks were taken out of context.

Examining the 2006 midterms, Putnam blamed the GOP defeat on “the independent vote, the women vote, the suburban vote.” He said that “heck, even the white rednecks who go to church on Sunday didn't come out to vote for us.”

Putnam used Watts’ tenure as chair to contrast his own vision for the conference, saying the GOP needed a “bolder” vision than the type of strategy preferred by Watts. According to one Republican’s notes, Putnam said that “JC Watts ruined the Conference by removing the member services functions that it offered until 1998” by turning it into only a communications and press vehicle. According to two Republicans, Putnam took the same swat at Watts during a Republican Study Conference session yesterday.

A Watts associate confirmed that he had learned of Putnam’s comments and that he was angered by them. Watts was not immediately available to comment.

Putnam’s chief of staff, John Hambel, said his boss has used the word “redneck” only in the context of sharing polling data from last week’s elections. Hambel said Putnam was listing off different constituencies and ended with saying: “Heck, we even had rednecks who go to church who didn't come out to vote.”

Earlier, and according to Hambel, not in the same context, Putnam suggested that Watts was a great communicator, but did not do enough for member services. He said Putnam believed that Watts was a “great communicator for the Republican party.”

"What he said was that when we were in the majority, J.C. Watts focused on communications and did not focus on member services,” said Hambel. “And in the minority, the conference, we need to focus more on member services.” Two ear-witnesses to this morning’s meeting say they did not remember Putnam praising Watts before he criticized him.

Putnam, the current chair of the Republican Policy Committee, is the House’s second-youngest member and an Episcopalian.

According to the Almanac of American Politics, Putnam represents a district that’s mostly urban and 72% white. His voting record is reliably conservative. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Southern Democratic budget hawks like Phil Gramm casually referred to themselves as the “Redneck Caucus.”

Though some Southerners take “redneck” as term of endearment, it is not a word that Republicans generally use to describe part of their base. Putnam, a favorite of current Speaker Dennis Hastert and Maj. Leader John Boehner, is running for chair against Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Jack Kingston (R-GA) and Dan Lungren (R-CA).


Posted at Hotline

Sunday, November 05, 2006

It's All About the GOTV

We just got word that there is a new SurveyUSA poll out there showing yet another tie. They are reporting that the race is at 49%-47%, which is well within the 3.8% margin of error.
Here is what SurveyUSA had to say:
Democrats Have Something to Say About Florida Governor: In an election for Governor of Florida today, 11/5/06, 48 hours till polls close, Democrat Jim Davis has caught Republican Charlie Crist, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted exclusively for WFLA-TV Tampa, WTLV-TV Jacksonville, and WKRG-TV Pensacola. In September, Crist led by 8. In October, Crist Led by 13. Today, at the wire, Crist leads by 2, 49% to 47%, sufficiently within the poll's 3.8 percent margin of sampling error that the contest should now be re-classified as a toss-up. Momentum is with the Democrat...Hold on to your hat. Among women, Crist had led by 9, now tied. Among men, Crist had led by 18, now leads by 4. Among older voters, Crist had led by 11, now tied. Among voters under age 50, tied. Among voters 50 to 64, tied. Crist leads among whites, and the Republican will need a lot of white votes to win. Davis leads among minorities. This final SurveyUSA poll assumes 82% of Florida likely voters are white. The more minorities who vote, the tougher it will be for Crist to take the Statehouse.
This is all going to come down to the final stretch. Tuesday is Election Day, and we must get people to the polls. Whoever wins the GOTV battle will win this race.

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Friday, November 03, 2006

PWWA-Florida writes to Attorney General Charlie Crist

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PWWA-Florida writes to Attorney General Charlie Crist

The Honorable Charlie Crist
Attorney General
420 E. Jefferson Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Dear Attorney General Crist:
My name is Kyle DeVries. I am a proud gay American and President of the Florida Chapter of Proud of Who We Are. In 2005 I lobbied the Florida Legislature to enact safe schools and gay adoption legislation, and I served as a 2006 organizing and training fellow for the nation’s oldest national gay and lesbian civil rights organization.
Mr. Crist, you are on the record opposing gay marriage and gay adoption. More importantly, however, you are also on the record – twice – asserting that that you have never had sexual contact with another man and that you are not gay.
However, there is now a sworn, legally binding, videotaped, and newly public deposition on the internet indicating that you have had a long-term relationship with a male staffer (and convicted felon) on Rep. Harris’s campaign staff.
To me, this is not about whether or not you are gay. Rather, it’s about whether or not you are being honest with millions of social conservative Florida voters who are adamantly opposed to what they see as the “homosexual lifestyle.”
Many influential social conservative leaders see gay relationships between consenting adults as perverted. According to Time magazine (Oct 26, 1998) Pat Robertson, of the Christian Broadcasting Network, warned that hurricanes could hit Orlando because of gay events there. Robertson actually said “the acceptance of homosexuality is the last step in the decline of Gentile civilization." One Palm Beach-area pastor, whose support you have sought, recently said, “Homosexuality makes God want to vomit.”
Possibly there is an innocent explanation for what the deposition seems to indicate. As a candidate for the highest office in the state of Florida you are asking the citizens of our state to enter into a public trust with you to represent our interests and values. If you have so far chosen to lie about who you are, instead of being truthful and letting the political chips fall where they may, then you are creating a serious honesty problem, even before a possible Crist Administration begins.
Kyle DeVries, President
Proud of Who We Are, Florida Chapter
Mike Rogers, President
Proud of Who We Are

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Stolen election 2000

Maybe even more cause for a paper trail 
And even more cause to help Clint Curtis Beat Tom Feeney The Thief Of Election 2000 
For More On The Stolen election Read Here

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

From The Echo Chamber

From The Echo Chamber
Audio of Bob Norman of Broward New times Outing Charlie Crist or was it Tom Gallagher outing Charlie
send this link out Far and wide
This audio is 13 megs takes a while to load
From The Jim Defede Show

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Crist's 30 Seconds Of Fame

A Blue Tsunami Is Coming For A Forcast:
For News And Commentary:
For Florida Election News See:
Political Talk For And By Political Junkies
Just Rumors The Rumor Mills