Next year, the House of Representatives will have to decide
what to do about the contested election in Florida's 13th District. Republicans have characterized
the Democrats' challenge of the results as a desperate power grab. But here's something to crystallize the issue -- a voting expert representing the manufacturer of the machines has written that there were certainly major problems in the election, and that those problems cost Democrat Christine Jennings the election.
Yesterday, Prof. Michael Herron of Dartmouth testified
on behalf of Election Systems & Software Inc. in the state court battle over the election results. He argued that the design of the ballot (which you can see here
) was at fault for the large "undervote" in Florida's Sarasota County, where voting machines did not register a vote in the congressional race for approximately 14% of voters. But while he may argue that machine glitches weren't at fault for the result, he doesn't dispute that something went wrong on Election Day.
âIt is hard to imagine that the Sarasota result reflects deliberate voter choices," reads a report
(pdf) issued earlier this month by Herron and his colleagues on Florida's 13th District. Even more tellingly, Herron found that "there is essentially a 100 percent chance that Jennings would have won the CD 13 race had Sarasota voters" voted in another county.
So keep that in mind as the battle heads further along in court and into Congress. The dispute is not whether voting irregularities cost Jennings the election -- among experts, even opposing experts, that issue is largely settled. It did. The dispute, in court at least, is whether those irregularities were caused in significant part by glitches in the machines, as Jennings has argued
, or simply by bad ballot design.