Re: GOP apologizes over voting flier; glossy mailer warns against touch-screens

From: Ed Kennedy <ekennedyx_at_yahoo_dot_com>
Date: Sun Aug 01 2004 - 16:27:26 CDT

Hello:

    I wonder if we can get a summary of what comes out of that ACLU meeting
in Key West? Considering the recent news out of Ohio perhaps they are
reconsidering their stand on DRE's?

Thanks, Ed Kennedy

----- Original Message -----
From: "Alan Dechert" <alan@openvotingconsortium.org>
To: <voting-project@lists.sonic.net>
Sent: Sunday, August 01, 2004 1:01 PM
Subject: [voting-project] GOP apologizes over voting flier; glossy mailer
warns against touch-screens

> One of the more hilarious stories recently on DREs and their supporters.
> First, they mail out a flier saying, "ORDER YOUR ABSENTEE BALLOT NOW The
> liberal Democrats have already begun their attacks and the new electronic
> voting machines do not have a paper ballot to verify your vote in case of
a
> recount."
>
> Then they had to take it back.
>
> I swear I had nothing to do with it.
>
> I really don't see this as a Republican v. Democrats issue, but I guess
some
> people do.
>
> Alan D.
>
> ********
>
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/southflorida/sfl-cabsentee30jul30,0,7600265.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines
>
> GOP apologizes over voting flier; glossy mailer warns against
touch-screens
>
> By Mark Hollis, Christy McKerney and Jeremy Milarsky
> Staff writers
> Posted July 30 2004
>
> An embarrassed state Republican Party apologized Thursday for a GOP
campaign
> brochure that urged voters to use absentee ballots, undermining efforts by
> Gov. Jeb Bush and Secretary of State Glenda Hood to inspire confidence in
> new touch-screen voting machines.
>
> Democratic Party officials and several civil rights groups eagerly pounced
> on the flier as either a laughable foul-up or a sign that maybe Republican
> leaders also question the reliability of the ATM-like equipment.
>
> Bush, Hood and many GOP legislators have been saying for weeks that the
> machines are accurate and the state is ready to run a fair election.
>
> "Have no doubt that we are confident of Florida's elections system, and
that
> means the entire electoral system is accurate and secure," said Joseph
> Agostini, spokesman for the Florida Republican Party. "We regret any
> misunderstanding over this issue."
>
> Democrats, civil-liberties organizations and voter-rights groups have been
> trying to appeal a state rule that prohibits manual recounts of the
> touchscreen voting machines, which leave no paper record, and in many
cases
> have been urging voters to use absentee voting as a way to keep such a
paper
> record.
>
> Absentee ballots are recorded by optical scan machines that detect pencil
> marks on paper to determine a voter's intent.
>
> Broward County assistant elections supervisor Gisela Salas said Broward
> County voters had already requested more than 16,000 absentee ballots by
> Thursday morning.
>
> More than 15,000 Palm Beach County voters have already requested absentee
> ballots for the Aug. 31 primary election, Palm Beach County Supervisor
> Theresa LePore said. That's more than twice as many voters as was recorded
> at the same time of the year before the 2002 gubernatorial primary
> elections.
>
> "We do have an increase in the number of absentee ballots requested,"
LePore
> said. "But I can't say it's directly attributable to people not wanting to
> use" touch-screen machines.
>
> The Republican apology stemmed from a glossy mailer paid for by the GOP
and
> sent to Miami voters in a hotly contested state House district primary
race
> between two Republicans. Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach are among 15
> counties who switched from punch-card ballots to touch-screens after the
> 2000 presidential recount.
>
> The flier featured a smiling President George W. Bush and urged voters not
> to take a chance with the touch-screen machines.
>
> "The liberal Democrats have already begun their attacks and the new
> electronic voting machines do not have a paper ballot to verify your vote
in
> case of a recount," the front page of the mailer reads. "Make sure your
vote
> counts, order your absentee ballot today."
>
> But the governor and secretary of state have stood fast in their support
of
> the machines.
>
> "Have they not had the opportunity to talk with Governor Jeb Bush or
Glenda
> Hood?" asked Florida ACLU director Howard Simon.
>
> Simon spoke from his car Thursday as he drove to Key West, where he was to
> take part in a two-day meeting of 50 ACLU lawyers to discuss, in part,
> Florida's problems with the new touch-screen voting machines.
>
> Those concerns heightened when it was discovered this week that, in
> Miami-Dade County, the electronic records of the Democratic gubernatorial
> primary between Janet Reno and Bill McBride had been largely lost because
of
> two 2003 computer crashes.
>
> A team of experts from the secretary of state's office arrived in
Miami-Dade
> on Thursday, said Seth Kaplan, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade County
> Department of Elections.
>
> "They are trying to understand what happened to make sure it won't happen
> again," Kaplan said. He would not specify how the team was going about its
> work. Similar problems have not been found in Broward or Palm Beach
> counties.
>
> The governor's spokeswoman, Jill Bratina, said Bush, who is on a trade
> mission in Canada, had not seen the flier but would not approve of its
> criticism of touch-screen voting.
>
> "He does not agree with any message that is going to criticize the
> touch-screen system because it works," Bratina said. "We had elections in
> 2002 on electronic machines. ... They work, and voters should be
comfortable
> using them."
>
> Democratic Party officials aren't so sure that it was an innocent mistake.
> They blasted the GOP for issuing the brochure.
>
> "It wasn't only inappropriate, it was outrageous," said state Sen. Ron
> Klein, a Boca Raton Democrat who was reached by telephone at the
Democratic
> National Convention in Boston. "If the voting equipment isn't a problem,
> then don't create political literature and issue political statements
which
> are designed to scare people or intimidate them."
>
> Leaders of several liberal interest groups said they don't accept the
> apologies.
>
> "It stinks," said Sharon Lettman-Pacheco of the People for the American
Way
> Foundation. "The damage is done. There is no time now to flip-flop. I
don't
> care about the apologies. They just need to put in place an audit trail to
> make sure every vote gets counted."
>
> Brad Brown, president of the Miami-Dade chapter of the NAACP, said the
> organization is promoting absentee ballots and early voting.
>
> "We are distributing absentee ballots at churches and housing projects,"
he
> said. "I think we will see more absentee voting efforts from both parties.
> Voting by absentee ballot has now become easy."
>
> The GOP flier was mailed to voters in House District 119 in Miami-Dade
where
> incumbent Rep. Juan-Carlos Zapata, a Republican, is running in the primary
> against challenger Frank Artiles.
>
> In an interview with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Zapata downplayed the
> mailer and insisted that he had no involvement in its distribution.
However,
> he said it surfaced as a response to an earlier mailer distributed by the
> Miccosukee Indian tribe that also used the president's image on behalf of
> the write-in contender.
>
> "The Miccosukee brochures had George Bush all over it, and I think the
> party, just from a political standpoint, felt uncomfortable with something
> out there like that that wasn't for a Republican candidate, and they
wanted
> to get something out there," Zapata said. "I just don't think they were
> careful about the language. They just wanted to make sure that anyone who
> may be feeling some apprehension to using the machines would know that
they
> have some alternative (absentee voting)."
>
> Staff Writer Tania Valdemoro contributed to this report. Christy McKerney
> can be reached at cmckerney@sun-sentinel.com or 954-356-4295.
>
> Copyright 2004, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
>
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Received on Tue Aug 31 23:17:01 2004

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