Result Of Congressional Race Apparently Incomplete, After (Whoops!) 18,000 Votes Disappear
More than 18,000 voters in Sarasota County, Fla., or a whopping 13 percent of those who went to the polls Tuesday, did not seem to vote in the Congressional race when they cast ballots, a discrepancy that Kathy Dent, the county elections supervisor, said she could not explain.
The amazing total would seem to impact the outcome of the race, in which Republican Vern Buchanan leads Democrat Christine Jennings by 373 votes, out of 237,861 cast. A preliminary review by The Herald-Tribune of Sarasota found that if Jennings had won the same percentage of the 18,000 missing votes as she did among counted votes in Sarasota County, she would have won the race by about 600 votes instead of losing by 373.
The seat was vacated by Katherine Harris (R-FL) -- irony, anyone? -- who ran for Senate and was subsequently walloped by Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat.
While 13 percent of Sarasota County voters failed to register a vote for the House seat, neighboring counties in the district recorded 2-5 percent of people not voting for the seat, according to The Herald-Tribune. And many of those who did not seem to cast a vote in the House race did vote in more obscure races, like for the hospital board.
In other words, it's highly unlikely that 13 percent of Sarasota County voters didn't cast a vote for the House seat.
State law requires machine recounts when the margin of victory is half a percentage point or less. But will a recount matter?
“If a vote is not recorded electronically inside the machine for whatever reason, there’s no way to go back and recover it,” Rebecca Mercuri, a computer scientist and an expert on voting technology in Hamilton, N.J., who has been critical of electronic voting, told the New York Times. “Chances are that nothing’s going to change, because those votes are gone.”