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Florida lawsuit targets electronic voting machines in close race

[JURIST] A coalition of advocacy groups filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] in Florida Tuesday claiming that officials in Sarasota County failed to investigate or report various alleged malfunctions with the touch-screen voting machines and are calling for a re-vote in Florida's hotly-contested 13th Congressional District. People for the American Way, Voter Action, the ACLU of Florida and the Electronic Frontier Foundation [advocacy websites] took the action on behalf of Republican and Democratic voters challenging the election of Republican Vern Buchanan [campaign website] to the US House of Representatives by a margin of 369 votes over Democrat Christine Jennings [campaign website]. The results were formally certified on Monday. The seat was formerly held by Katherine Harris (R-FL) [official website], Florida Secretary of State during the notorious 2000 presidential recount, who lost her Senate bid [campaign website].

The complaint alleges that a re-vote is needed because legal votes cast in Sarasota County [official website] were improperly rejected by malfunctioning electronic voting machines [JURIST report] on election day. According to the suit

no vote was recorded on any congressional candidate on approximately 18,000 electronic ballots cast on ES&S iVotronic voting machines...nearly 25 percent of all electronic ballots and approximately 13 percent of all ballots, paper and electronic. By treating these ballots as "undervotes" in the 13th Congressional election, the Sarasota Country Canvassing Board rejected thousands of legal votes sufficient to place in doubt the result of the election.
After Monday's certification of results Jennings filed her own lawsuit in nearby Leon County, contesting the certification and requesting a new election. Florida Second Circuit Court Judge William L. Gary said at a hearing Tuesday that Jennings' lawsuit will not be expedited as she had requested. CNET News has more. CQ Politics has additional coverage.

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