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Voting Rights

Crist-Wexler Proposal Could Help End Long Nightmare for Florida Voters

Press Release
Josh Glasstetter
People For the American Way
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TALLAHASSEE—In response to reports that Florida Governor Charlie Crist and Florida Congressman Robert Wexler are proposing the elimination of touch-screen voting machines in Florida, People For the American Way Florida Legal Counsel Reggie Mitchell released the following statement:

“People For the American Way welcomes reports that Governor Crist is working with Congressman Wexler to abolish voting machines that do not allow citizens to verify their votes on the spot. These machines have caused too many election problems in Florida, and they should be replaced with more reliable technology. We say, ‘bravo.’

“It’s remarkable to finally see a bipartisan effort to address the voting scandals that have plagued Florida since the election fiasco in 2000. It’s about time.

“It’s also encouraging that the Governor is putting his money where his mouth is, and offering significant state funds to help counties make the switch. After spending millions on unverifiable touch-screen machines, these counties will need help.

“That said, significant concerns remain. Will there be a voter-verifiable paper trail for every voter in time for the 2008 elections? Will citizens whose first language is Spanish or Creole get the ballots they need? Will disabled citizens be able to cast their vote and verify it independently?

“This is promising news, but Florida has a long way to go. The debacle in the congressional race in Sarasota County was one of the worst problems in the country in the 2006 elections, and justice has still not been done for those voters.

“We will work with Governor Crist, Congressman Wexler, the state Legislature and our allies in the voting rights community to bring real election reform to Florida.

“The nightmare that began in 2000 for Florida voters won’t be over until every citizen of this state can cast a vote that counts in every race on every ballot. That’s our goal for the 2008 elections, and we welcome this initiative as a strong first step.”