Miami-Dade recommends scrapping touch screen voting

The theme of the “case” presented by Dino Rossi’s attorney’s last week can pretty much be summed up by former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton’s embarrassing statement of April 6:

“I think it’s appropriate to come to the conclusion that King County has the worst election administration in any county in the United States of America.”

What the fuck?

Forget for a moment that most of the alleged illegal votes were not the result of official error. And ignore the fact that Republican allegations of errors in King County have been overblown, and deliberately taken out of context. Regardless of what really happened in KC, a claim such as Slippery Slade’s would actually require a comparative study.

And one place to look might be, gee… I don’t know… Florida?

In the wake of their incredibly screwed up 2000 election, Miami-Dade County spent $24.5 million to move from punch card ballots to touch screen voting machines. Now in the wake of another incredibly screwed up election, the Supervisor of Elections has recommended scrapping the system and moving to optical scan.

After repeated embarrassing glitches at the polls, elections officials in Miami-Dade County have recommended scrapping the county’s $24.5 million electronic voting system in favor of paper ballots with optical scanners.

Supervisor of Elections Lester Sola made the recommendation Friday in an initial analysis of the county’s voting system and the feasibility of adopting a new one. In his report, Sola said that adopting the simpler system could save county taxpayers millions and restore voter confidence by providing a paper record of ballots cast.

In April, an outraged Mayor Carlos Alvarez requested a study on the merits of the optical scan system after revelations that the Elections Department lost hundreds of votes during the March 8 slot machine referendum because of a coding error.


The fact is, errors occur in every election, and while I’m sure there were many counties that performed better than King, you can be certain that there were plenty that performed much worse, in Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin and elsewhere. (And by the way… I hear rumor that Snohomish County is quietly considering scrapping their touch screen machines too, much to the consternation of Auditor Bob Terwilliger. Hmm… I wonder why?)

Yes, the number of errors in this election exceeded Christine Gregoire’s margin of victory. But it is curious that Republicans would argue that this alone is reason to set aside the results and hold a new election, when they never suggested the same for the presidential election in 2000.


  1. 1

    RossiSux2 spews:

    Republicans don’t trust touch screen machines either. At the public hearing on election reform that I attended, about 200 people were present, and only 2 or 3 were willing to defend touch screen machines. There is so much opposition to them on all sides that it’s political suicide to support them. How can Terwiliger be so dumb? Is he a closet Republican?

  2. 2

    headless lucy spews:

    What can I say? Republicans suck. It would be a better world if they didn’t exist, but unfortunately, they do.

  3. 3

    righton spews:

    Doesn’t count; Miami-Dade basically north Cuba. Miami 1955 had good voting; today, ha! Between cuban exiles and retirees from Chicago and NY, nobody knows an honest vote.

    Your only moral way out of this jam is to find someone worse? wow.

  4. 4

    Scott spews:

    You bring up the biggest irony of the so-called republican challenge to Chris’ election. We saw MUCH worse than this in Florida in 2000 and the GOP claimed it was much ado about nothing. We saw MUCH worse than this in Ohio in 2004 and again, the GOP claimed it was much ado about nothing. When their guy wins, they claim that we’re just sore looooosers. But when the shoe is on the other foot, they act as all low-life republicans do, they show they are ignorant hypocrites.

  5. 5

    righton spews:

    You mean 2000 was worse cuz you were unsuccessful in selectively recounting in 4 demo counties?

  6. 6

    Diggindude spews:

    Your only moral way out of this jam is to find someone worse? wow.
    Comment by righton

    I am repeatedly referred to the crimes of clinton, when asking how anyone can support such a liar as gwdummy.

  7. 7

    Diggindude spews:

    look at the repubs in florida, claiming hand counts are not accurate, then the new mexico race, where the only way to determine a winner according to repubs, was by hand count.
    If you start to get the upper hand, they will always take the lower road.

  8. 8

    headless lucy spews:

    There’s a lawsuit in Snohomish county over these Rep. Diebold voting machines.

  9. 9

    Nindid spews:

    righton @5 As a person who was living in Florida in 2000, let me correct your selective revisionist history. The recount that was stopped by the SCOTUS to install George was a statewide recount of all the counties. You are right that Gore’s legal team initially just requested a recount of the four counties, but it was widely condemned in Democratic circles as a bad move and that he should have asked for the whole state to begin with for both a just result and good politics. I was very happy to see the state party here in WA asked for the full recount in the last election.

    As a side note, how can a Republican get all upset about cherry-picking counties for intense scrutiny without choking on the hypocrisy? *Heimlich to righton*

  10. 10

    RossiSux2 spews:

    Gee, didn’t Republicans cherry-pick felons in ONE Washington county? And you’re complaining about Gore wanting to recount four Florida counties? As other posters point out, you are a hypocrite. When Republicans win, everything is A-OK; when they lose, the election is “immoral.”

    Righton — fuck you and your Repubklican ilk!

  11. 11

    headless lucy spews:

    This election thing is far from over. The Rep. Party is going to be dead when we’re done with them. And they deserve it.

  12. 12

    mark spews:

    The Republicans have really embarrassed themselves with this lawsuit. I know they think they are winning public opinion, but as it now becomes clear that they had no evidence of any fraud, this whole thing is starting to backfire in their faces. Yes, it does serve them right. And no, Democrats would not have done the same thing. Gregoire said very publically that she would stand by whatever the results of the hand recount were.

  13. 13

    headless lucy spews:

    Stefan Shartwatsky up until 2 years ago was a liberal blogger in SF. Now he’s a rabid Rep. blogger. Wonder who’s stuffing the “sharks” pocket with moola?

  14. 14

    RossiSux2 spews:

    Comment on 12

    Thanks for telling it like it was, Mark. Gregoire also publicly insisted on a statewide hand recount, or no hand recount. She is a principled politician — a truly rare commodity. We are lucky to have someone of her integrity as our governor.

    The hate (and threats) spewed against her (and her family) by nutjob wingo slimeballs put Gregoire and her family through a wringer. It’s hard to imagine anyone running for public office if that’s what they have to put up with, but it’s important not to let the right wing haters win control of our government by default, by bullying anyone who runs for office against them.

    Gregoire deserves a medal for putting up with these shitheads.

  15. 15

    RossiSux2 spews:


    When right wing haters rant about Clinton’s “crimes,” they’re referring to the crime of perjury, i.e. lying under oath. Well yeah, Clinton DID fudge the facts about a private consensual sexual affair that was none of anybody’s business, under circumstances bordering on entrapment, which is a legal defense to any criminal charge.

    Well, what’s good for the goose, is good for the gander. If they’re going to talk about Clinton committing perjury, then we should talk about General Sanchez and Attorney General (and future Supreme Court nominee) Gonzalez committing perjury. In fact, someone IS talking about their perjuries — right here:

  16. 16

    marks spews:


    But it is curious that Republicans would argue that this alone is reason to set aside the results and hold a new election, when they never suggested the same for the presidential election in 2000.

    I would suggest reading this:
    In SCOTUS Bush vs. Gore:
    whether the Florida Supreme Court established new standards for resolving Presidential election contests, thereby violating Art. II, §1, cl. 2, of the United States Constitution and failing to comply with 3 U. S. C. §5, and whether the use of standardless manual recounts violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses. With respect to the equal protection question, we find a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.

    No equal protection violation is alleged at this time, Goldy. Apples and oranges. Further, in 2000, the manufacturing-er-mining-um-counting of votes was halted due to Federal constraints of time (Electors doing their job in the College). Would it have been nice to have Clinton stay on for a few more months while they got it right? Sure. As I have said before, his political skills and policies allowed for an excellent business climate. Don’t worry; history tends to repeat, so maybe we can revisit this in another Presidential election…

    Speaking of history repeating: What rankles the most is the method that votes get counted (KC “finds” uncounted votes and counts them in a recount), just like Gorton’s loss to Cantwell. What is alleged in Rossi vs Gregoire is that the winner is indeterminate.

    The contest went forward based on that, and probably gets quashed by the WASC. End of story…

  17. 17

    RossiSux2 spews:

    Corporations Want to Censor the Press

    Financial giant Morgan Stanley and oil giant BP are the vanguard of a new trend in Corporate America. Both companies are demanding the media provide them with advance copies of any news stories mentioning their companies, and have announced they will pull their advertising from any publications that report stories reflecting unfavorably on their companies. Read the whole article here:

    If this idea catches on in the corporate world, does it mean the end of the free press? Or, at least, the end of uncensored MSM reporting? Sure smells like corporate fascism to me.

    I have an idea. How about a $500,000 fine for any corporate officer who threatens to withhold advertising from a publication in retaliation for reporting that makes the company look bad?

    The precedent has already been established at the FCC, only a slight wording change in the federal regulations is required.

    (Notice to trolls: Before you go off, let me explain to you fucking blockheads that the above suggestion is tongue-in-cheek.)

  18. 20

    Stop their CATerwauling, spay/neuter ALL Pet Libs spews:

    Oh wait, your cute little guy just had to respond to the liberal that woke up!

  19. 21

    BananaLand (aka Iguana) spews:

    This is my first visit to this blog. Goldstien is clearly working hard to rustle up controversy with the most extreme position and inflamitory language on anything discussed here.

    He’s taken a page from Moore’s book – there’s money in them thar hills of controversy.

  20. 22

    RossiSux2 spews:

    Great post, Spyder! This article does a terrific job of satirizing — and exposing — the Republicans’ relentless greed and selfishness.

    A “Republican” is someone who was kicked out of kindergarten for behavior problems.

  21. 23

    Chuck spews:

    You havent listened to the trial at all, republicans want illegal ballots removed from all precincts and subtracted in a manner cosistant of each precincts record. :)

  22. 24

    David spews:

    spyder @ 18, PetLibs/ProudASS @ 19:
    Thanks for the links! Both writers have seized on uncomfortable truths: the Republicans have been drifting toward self-serving extremist right wing politics, and the Democrats have been just drifting without any real sense of purpose at all, except tugs from a multitude of left-wing interest groups.

    Neither party is addressing the political center right now.

  23. 25

    Chuck spews:

    headless lucy@11
    Either way this works out, chrissy couldnt get elected dog catcher in this state next election, and Rossi is an absolute shoe in.

  24. 26

    RossiSux2 spews:

    Banana brains @ 21

    Welcome to HorsesAss! We need some more stupid right-wing trolls to kick around! Hope you stay a long time. :D

  25. 27

    RossiSux2 spews:

    Cheesy Chuckie @ 23

    Of course I didn’t listen to the trial! How could I? I can’t afford cable on my meager guvmit pension. What we need to do is raise your taxes so WTV can build a broadcast tower.

  26. 29

    Outboard spews:

    Do you not have a computer. has an audio link also. And guess what they have been replaying some of the court sessions. I was listening to it Friday Night. You have a choice of Video or Audio. If you are on a dialup system I would recommend the Audio. I have Cable and still use only the audio. too many people on the video link causing me to miss too much.
    Why do people compare Florida with KC. Floridia is ancient history. Bush never lost a count. Even the count after the election. Not once did Gore get the lead. In KC a Republican wins 2 out of 3 counts. ANd the third count was certified with false numbers. So let the court deceide the issue. In this case more votes got counted on each recount. Mostly in KC.

  27. 30

    Janet S spews:

    Re: #15, Clinton’s Crimes

    Sexual harrassment is not a minor personal affair. Funny how liberals overlook this when excusing abhorrent behavior.

    David #24

    How is wanting a reasonably clean election a right-wing wacko sort of thing? All these call for finding felons in all counties is just kind of stupid. The Repubs were doing the job of the county by identifying a number larger than the margin of error. No one ever said that it represented the entire universe of felon voters. If other counties have problems, they need to clean it up without the Repubs coming in to hold their hand to do it.

    I still find it amazing that the Dems want better voting methods, and want election reform, but won’t admit that the errors in King County were atrocious. Every day I am more convinced that or other groups found out how to stuff the ballot box in a manner without getting caught. They knew the election workers were either over-worked or not well trained in certain areas, and took advantage. KC officials just played their roll in being incompetent, and not wanting to admit it.

  28. 31

    Tom Rekdal spews:

    Iguana @ 21

    Goldstein often enjoys stating his position in a manner that is inflammatory enough to energize his paranoid leftist readers, but his comments on the gubernatorial contest have been quite penetrating (in my opinion).

    His basic position is that the Rossi supporters have failed to show that the errors that occurred in this election are unusual, here or elsewhere, or that they are the product of conspiracy. This still seems correct to me as well.

  29. 32

    RossiSux2 spews:

    Reply to 29

    What do you recommend for a 5 Mhz computer connected to the internet by a tin can on a string to the neighbor’s house? :D

  30. 33

    RossiSux2 spews:

    30, what sexual harassment are you talking about, Janet? You’re a typical righty troll — you’re making shit up.

  31. 34

    RossiSux2 spews:

    P.S., Janet we do agree on something — I would have liked a “reasonably clean” election in Ohio instead of the shit we got from Ken Blackwell. Yes, compared to Ohio, King County WAS a “model election.”

  32. 35

    dj spews:

    outboard @ 29

    “Why do people compare Florida with KC. Floridia is ancient history. Bush never lost a count. Even the count after the election. Not once did Gore get the lead.”

    No shit, Shirlock. Part of the reason is that a recount was halted by the SCOTUSA. From research done after the election, Bush or Gore could have won the recount, depending on the rules employed. (Ironically, Gore would win by Bush’s rules, and Bush would win by Gore’s rules). More info here.

    “In KC a Republican wins 2 out of 3 counts. ANd the third count was certified with false numbers.”

    Please read the election code. Each recount superceedes the previous one. This is the kind of idiotic drivel that give right-wingers a bad name. Please, for the sake of your fellow wingers, get you freaking facts straight.

    Also, the third count was not certified with false numbers. The actual count from the election tally is not in dispute. What is in dispute is whether some of the votes tallied should be removed from the totals because they are from illegal voters or they are illegal votes. (A few other issues are in the GOP case, as well, but not that someone falisfied the vote totals for the third recount.) Again, get you facts straight before you post bullshit.

    “So let the court deceide the issue. In this case more votes got counted on each recount. Mostly in KC.”

    No shit. Maybe more votes got counted each recount because KC has more voters??? The additional votes found for each recount is neither surprising, nor are they being legally challenged by the GOP. You don’t seem to know much about what is being challenged in the GOP legal case. I recommend you visit the SoS web site and read some of the GOP briefs.

  33. 36

    Ted Smith spews:

    Slade Gorton hasn’t told the truth in so long that he wouldn’t recognize it if it bit him on his bony little ass.

  34. 37

    Patrick spews:

    The main consequence of the recounts was to add more votes to 38 of the 39 counties’ totals. In 18 of the counties, the vote count changed by more than 1/10th of 1 percent; in 1 county it changed by more than 1 percent. Here’s the “dirty dozen” (i.e., the worst 12):

    1. Adams 1.2964% (Rossi)
    2. Walla Walla 0.4983% (Rossi)
    3. Pierce 0.3094% (Rossi)
    4. Kittitas 0.2943% (Rossi)
    5. Skagit 0.2764% (Rossi)
    6. Grant 0.2637% (Rossi)
    7. Cowlitz 0.1790% (Gregoire)
    8. King 0.1739% (Gregoire)
    9. Asotin 0.1737% (Rossi)
    10. Franklin 0.1642% (Rossi)
    11. Pend Oreille 0.1632% (Rossi)
    12. Snohomish 0.1625% (Rossi)

    (Percentages are based on dividing the net change from the 1st count to the hand recount by the hand recount total.)

    As you can see, King County was not the most error-prone county, Adams County was — by far. KC ranked 8th, and of the 12 most error-prone counties, 10 went for Rossi and only 2 for Gregoire.

    So much for the myth that King County was uniquely mistake-prone.

  35. 38

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    I read the article in the SF Chronicle by the reformed LEFTIST PINHEAD. Keep hope alive baby!!!
    Frankly….living in a highly LEFTIST area…I’m surprised how many former LEFTIST PINHEADS there are. It’s exciting.

  36. 39

    Dr Quest spews:

    SAying “leftist pinhead” isn’t pissng anyone off. It just makes you look like an ignorant jerk-off.

  37. 40

    Patrick spews:

    Comment on 39

    No, it merely makes him look like a Republican Hick with a limited vocabulary.

  38. 41

    Patrick spews:

    I notice the trolls stopped using the bank analogy after I pointed out the S & L industry forgot where they put $500,000,000,000.00.

  39. 43

    Patrick spews:

    The banks also seem to have a problem lately of losing customer records to identity thieves. Thank God, King County Elections isn’t run like a bank. We should all be grateful for that.

  40. 44


    And even bank tellers have a margin of error in their daily reconciliation. No one gets bent out of shape if their cash count isn’t quite right at the end of the day … if, say, they gave someone $344.21 when they cashed a check for $343.21.

    Oh, and if a teller handles, say, $10,000 in a day and finished with an extra dollar in the till — which absolutely no one would bat an eye about — that’s more than twice the “error rate” represented as FRAUD by the Rossi crybabies.

  41. 45


    Patrick @37:

    I can’t tell the source of your numbers, but they don’t match the ones that I built up during my series of count/recount/recount reports on dailyKos.

    Considering the for a candidate vote, I get very much the same order but different percentages (Adams 0.707%, Walla Walla 0.498%, Pierce 0.309%, Kittitas 0.294%, Skagit 0.276%, Grant 0.264%, King 0.174%, Asotin 0.174%, Franklin 0.164%, Pend Oreille 0.164%). If you consider absolute values, you could place Cowlitz’s -0.179% between Grant and King.

    Looking instead at the changes in ballots counted (whether or not for a candidate), the percentages are generally lower and the counties differ (Franklin 0.575%, Whitman 0.298%, Skagit 0.243%, Kittitas 0.203%, Grant 0.164%, King 0.107%, Pend Oreille 0.096%, Adams 0.077%, Snohomish 0.074%, Columbia 0.047%). Once again, absolute values change it — Douglas was -1.659% (topping the list), Cowlitz -0.234% (between Skagit and Kittitas).

    Overall, there were 1284 additional ballots counted in the hand recount than in the initial count; that includes the 755 improperly set-aside King County absentee ballots that were eventually included. Without those (all of which would have been in the initial count had been processed correctly), King County showed remarkably little change in the total count.

    OTOH, some 4146 additional for-a-candidate ballots were counted by hand. In contrast to the inanities spewed by the Rossi crowd, this increase is attributable to the superior capabilities (compared to computer programs) of human beings to discern patterns. All of those votes, of course, were ascertained by at least one Republican.

  42. 46

    righton spews:

    n in seattle

    ouch, my side hurts.. “this increase is attributable to the superior capabilities (compared to computer programs) of human beings to discern patterns”

    especially good on ghosts, corpses , people living in atlanta, etc