Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Large Undervote in Florida District

A circuit court judge Tuesday temporarily postponed a state audit of touch-screen voting machines that reported about one in eight voters did not vote in a U.S. House contest.

That rate was much higher than found in neighboring counties, and the reason for the large undervote -- more than 18,000 votes -- remains unclear.

The order by Sarasota Circuit Judge Deno Economou does not halt a recount set to begin Thursday in the 13th Congressional District race between Vern Buchanan (R) and Christine Jennings (D). ...

Buchanan leads Jennings by 377 votes -- about 0.2 percent.

Both candidates are in Washington for congressional orientation this week.

In the electronic recount, Sarasota elections supervisor Kathy Dent expected it to be finished late Tuesday. But she expected other recount activities to continue right up to Saturday's state-mandated results deadline. The recount involves precincts in five counties.

The race is for the seat held by U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris, who rose to national attention during Florida's 2000 recount that put the governor's brother, George W. Bush, in the White House. Harris, a Republican, was the secretary of state at the time, and ultimately certified Bush the winner.

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