Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Election Reform Panel Adds Jacksonville to Schedule Mid-February Date Likely for Meeting on Duval Woes

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Election Reform Panel Adds Jacksonville to Schedule Mid-February Date Likely for Meeting on Duval Woes

Article excerpt

TALLAHASSEE -- An election-reform task force added a meeting in Jacksonville to its schedule yesterday because of the large number of problems with the Duval County presidential vote.

The meeting, which officials said would probably be Feb. 15 or Feb. 16, would be the fourth and last for the task force, which wound up a two-day hearing in Tallahassee yesterday.

Gov. Jeb Bush appointed the group to recommend ways to eliminate problems that arose in the recent election, when disputed ballots and court battles delayed the final determination of the presidential winner for five weeks.

At its hearing in Tallahassee, the task force appeared to favor eliminating the punch-card ballots used in many large counties, including Duval, but no vote was taken.

Although there was some support for considering touchscreen voting machines similar to automatic tellers, several election experts recommended moving first to an optical-scan system in which the voter fills in circles that are read by a machine.

The optical-scan equipment is already in use in many counties, and officials said it would be easier and cheaper to put the system in place statewide before the 2002 election.

It would eliminate the problem with punch-card ballots caused by failure to push the chads all the way out.

The decision to add a hearing in Jacksonville was made after state Sen. Daryl Jones, a Miami Democrat serving on the task force, complained that the group was avoiding some of the main trouble spots.

In Duval County, more than 9 percent of the ballots did not count in the presidential race, either because they contained no vote for president or had votes for more than one candidate. Generally, 2 percent or less of ballots are disqualified for over or undervoting.

Some Duval County residents also complained that they were not allowed to vote after registering under Florida's motor-voter law. Others reported being turned away from polling places because they didn't have picture identification, despite the fact that Florida law allows registered voters to sign an affidavit of their identity in lieu of showing ID.

Rep. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, said the additional hearing would give the group's recommendations more credibility with the public. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.