PFAWF Criticizes Decision to Put Partisan Paper Trail Opponent in Charge of Sarasota Voting Machine Audit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 16, 2006

Contact: Nick Berning or Drew Courtney at People For the American Way Foundation

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: 202-467-4999

In response to the decision by the administration of Florida Governor Jeb Bush to appoint Alec Yasinsac to carry out an inspection of Sarasota County voting machines, the nonpartisan People For the American Way Foundation Florida Legal Counsel Reggie Mitchell issued the following statement:

“I know Alec Yasinsac well, and while he’s a great guy, he’s the wrong choice to lead an investigation into what went wrong in Sarasota County. We need an independent investigator, not someone whose partisan leanings have been clear since the 2000 voting fiasco.

“Alec is a strong advocate for electronic voting machines and a vociferous opponent of requiring a voter verifiable paper trail. In 2000, he wore a button reading ‘Bush Won’ while working against a recount in the presidential race. He clearly has preexisting biases. This situation requires a truly independent investigation that will get to the bottom of this problem in a nonpartisan fashion, and help to ensure that these problems never occur again. Sarasota County voters, Florida and the nation deserve no less.”

PFAWF is cosponsoring a public hearing tonight at the Hyatt Sarasota to take testimony from voters, poll workers and others who experienced problems voting in the race for Florida’s 13 Congressional District in Sarasota County. A massive undercount in that race has potentially disenfranchised 18,000 voters. A manual recount is underway, but Mitchell and other advocates argue that votes that were never recorded cannot be recounted.

PFAWF has called for an independent, nonpartisan investigation of the voting problems experienced in Sarasota County in the race to fill Florida’s 13 Congressional District seat. PFAWF has also called for a re-vote to allow voters to cast their ballots in the race. The candidates are currently separated by less than 400 votes.