Watchdogs File Suit in Florida Election Battle

Activist groups have filed a second lawsuit contesting the election results in Florida’s 13th, arguing that electronic voting machines may have robbed voters of their true choice.

The suit, filed by watchdog groups Voter Action, People For the American Way Foundation, the ACLU of Florida, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, follows swiftly on Christine Jennings contest filed yesterday. You can read Jennings’ suit here, which includes a number of voter testimonials about problems on Election Day.

Elliot Mincberg, Legal Director for PAWF, said that he expected the judge to consolidate the two suits and have them proceed together.

The lawsuits, however, comrpise just one of the avenues by which the election’s results will be challenged.The state of Florida will begin its audit of the machines next week, a process that is expected to take approximately three weeks. It will seek to replicate and isolate voter problems on the touch-screen machines. The audit’s findings are likely to play a large role in Jennings’ suit; the judge ruled today that the case would wait until the audit was complete. The process will be monitored by experts from both Jennings’ and Republican Vern Buchanan’s camp.

Jennings has 30 days from yesterday’s election’s certification to contest the results in Congress, befoore the House Administration Committee. The panel has the power to take the matter away from the courts and decide it for itself.

Curious how that works? According to Roll Call, “Once an election is contested, the committee appoints a panel of two majority members and one minority member to head up its investigation.” Given the rarity of this occurrence and the imminent changeover of Congress, it’s far from apparent how all this would proceed, however. Republicans have signalled that they’ll be ending the current session December 8th, over a week earlier than expected.