FL-13: Democrats To Seat Buchanan, For Now

The latest from the last unresolved election of 2006:A judge ruled Friday that congressional aspirant Christine Jennings has no right to examine the programming source code that runs the electronic voting machines at the center of a disputed Southwest Florida congressional race.

Democrats in Congress meanwhile, said they'd allow Republican Vern Buchanan to take the seat next Thursday, but with a warning that the inquiry wasn't over and that his hold on it could be temporary.

The state has certified Buchanan the winner of the District 13 race by a scant 369 votes.

Although she could appeal, the ruling Friday from Circuit Judge William Gary prevents the Jennings camp from being able to use the programming code to try to show voting machines used in Sarasota County malfunctioned. Jennings claims that an unusually large number of undervotes - ballots that didn't show a vote - recorded in the race implies the machines lost the votes.

Jennings still has a complaint filed, however, before Congress, which is the ultimate arbiter of who will fill the seat. The seat is being vacated by Rep. Katherine Harris, a Republican who unsuccessfully ran for the Senate.

"The House has the power to collect evidence and make a decision about who, if anyone, was duly elected to represent the people of the 13th district," U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., said Friday before the judge's ruling. Holt plans to make an official statement next week making it clear that by seating Buchanan, the House isn't forfeiting the right to reverse that decision later. This is the politically safe maneuver, designed to prevent the first few days and weeks of the Democratic Congress from being sidetracked. I worry, however, that even though Democrats have made it clear that they could reverse this decision, that by seating Buchanan they all but end any effective opposition to the legitimacy of the election in FL-13. The already difficult path for Jennings in FL-13 just became a lot more difficult.

Tags: Christine Jennings, FL-13, House 2006, Vern Buchanan (all tags)

Comments

18 Comments

looks like another cave

to me, for,

yet again,

some keeping the powder dry stratergery.

I HOPE I am wrong.

rmm.

by seabos84 2006-12-29 03:23PM | 0 recs
Re: FL-13: Democrats To Seat Buchanan, For Now

seabos84 you are not wrong. This IS a cave in. There is no fucking reason to keep any stupid powder dry.
What would the GOP have done? Boycott the sessions? Even better for us to pass shit if they boycotted.

There were literally zero risks in calling for a new election. Now that Buchanan will be seated, it will be impossible to take him out. Pelosi is really dissapointing here...I knew she would cave. There was just no fucking excuse for it. We have a majority, we control everything, the GOP is demoralized--they couldn't have done anything. Now we have to run against him in 2008 in a less favorable environment, in a Republican leaning district and with the incumbnt advantage against a canididate who will be easy to paint as a sore loser by the other side.

This was do or die, and Pelosi chose death for no fucking reason.

by need some wood 2006-12-29 04:08PM | 0 recs
Re: FL-13: Democrats To Seat Buchanan, For Now

I feel the same way regarding the seating. If the roles were reversed, there's no way the Dem would be seated. Caving on this does us no favors since the opposition is determined to be hostile anyway and it reinforces the Publican frame of Dems as defeatist sissies.

I'm well prepared to be unhappy with both the Senate and the House leadership for quite a long time. Might as well make Lieberman the Senate Majority Leader and Tauscher the Speaker of the House, for a start.

As for 2008 -- Sarasota County is increasingly turning blue with the influx of northeastern retirees, and voters are royally pissed off. If she runs again -- in an honest election, this time -- she'll take it.

Also, competent Dem governance in the next two years -- which is possible regardless of the lack of spine of our leadership -- will go a long way toward making 2008 favorable everywhere. I do not believe 2006 represents the crest of the Dem wave.

I do hope that you and I and Matt are wrong, that Buchanan (literally, a used-car salesman; a total sleaze slimeball besides, widely loathed even by Publicans) will be unseated just as quickly.

All the House leadership had to do was say 'pending the outcome of the many legal challenges, we're not seating anybody.' And they couldn't manage that. Utterly disgusting.

by lightyearsfromhome 2006-12-29 06:12PM | 0 recs
Re: FL-13: Democrats To Seat Buchanan, For Now

But there won't be an honest election. This was the chance to ensure that there would be. And Pelosi is rewarding vote fraud. They'll just do the same thing in '08

by antiHyde 2006-12-30 03:32PM | 0 recs
For Now

The idea that nobody can examine the source code of voting machines supplied by a private vendor is just unfrickingbelievable.  

I've always thought that one of the best arguments for not invading Iraq is that we don't have a democracy worth exporting.

by global yokel 2006-12-29 06:43PM | 0 recs
Re: FL-13: Democrats To Seat Buchanan, For Now

Speaking on behalf of the campaign, I'd just like to let everyone at MyDD know that we plan to immediately appeal this absurd ruling and that we have no intentions of giving up in the fight to protect Sarasota County's voters from disenfranchisement.

-JR Lentini
Blogosphere Outreach Coordinator
Christine Jennings for Congress

by Jay R 2006-12-29 07:14PM | 0 recs
Re: FL-13: Democrats To Seat Buchanan, For Now

Go!

by antiHyde 2006-12-30 03:33PM | 0 recs
Re: FL-13: Democrats To Seat Buchanan, For Now

Uh, that was a cheer, not a demand to go away.

Looking at the post, I guess it could be taken both ways.

by antiHyde 2006-12-30 03:34PM | 0 recs
Re: FL-13: Democrats To Seat Buchanan, For Now

How the fuck can they not allow the source code to be examined?

The competing rights are:

1) Trade secrecy

2) Fair elections in a Democracy

What the fuck!  The country is not a Democracy.

by Ethelred 2006-12-30 01:13AM | 0 recs
Re: FL-13: Democrats To Seat Buchanan, For Now

Corporatocracy is more like it.

We need to get rid of ALL voting machines.

by antiHyde 2006-12-30 03:35PM | 0 recs
Re: FL-13: Democrats To Seat Buchanan, For Now

I still think that a new election, or worse yet - just seating Jennings because you can, is wrong.  One of the principals of our system is that there is one election and you count the votes, and the the person with the most wins.  As it stands, the votes were counted and Buchanan has more, so he "won".  The only way that I see that Jennings should win is if it can be proven that the machines actually undercounted the votes.  Not just a suspicion, but actual proof.  Undervotes because the ballots were poorly designed or the machines were difficult to use is just too bad.  That is an issue that should have been addressed before the election and should be addressed before the next election if that is the case.

With that said, it is really absurd that the source code for these machines is not public, or at least available to the Jennings campaign.  I understand trade secrets and whatnot, but that simply should not apply to election software.  For our democracy to work, elections must be transparent and free of all doubts.  This is certainly NOT transparent if this essential link in the chain is not available for public inspection.  

Has there ever been a movement to create open source code election software?  I'm not a programmer or even much of a techie, but it would seem that that would be a pretty good idea to me.  Not only would the code and software be 100% transparent, but the states/counties/etc wouldn't have to shell out millions of dollars to software firms either.

In my mind, in this district, no matter who serves the next two years, the challenger will have the advantage going into the '08 election.  At this point, there is too much uncertainty about the results for either side to accept that they were defeated.  Therefore, whichever side actually is not seated will be able to portray themselves as the victim of shenanigans in the next election, which I think will be a huge advantage.  Dems already have the majority in the House.  There is no real need for Jennings to be seated.  I think it will be to your advantage to just let Buchanan serve two years then run as the victim next time.

by NJIndependent 2006-12-30 04:12AM | 0 recs
Re: FL-13: Democrats To Seat Buchanan, For Now

Clearly, you don't live down here.  I do, and I am insulted by the idea that we are to be 'represented' by someone we didn't ever want to have the job.  The people down here, myself included, wanted Christine to represent us because she was a much better fit for the district, and because she has none of the baggage that Buchanan brings.

We went and voted, and now we're expected to accept that the person most of us didn't want to have the job should get it simply because someone in the Election Supervisor's office screwed up?  I'll pass, thanks.

by Jay R 2006-12-30 10:46AM | 0 recs
Re: FL-13: Democrats To Seat Buchanan, For Now

This, long with the rumor that the Democrats plan to be "bipartisan" in a way that is completely alien to the oppsition troubles me. It is foolish to act this way with reptilian brained people who see advanced concepts like mercy and fairness as a sign of weakness. The criminal enterprise that the congressional GOP as become as a result of the K Street project should be treated in a hard manner. For the next two years there only goal is to regain power. They will use the ability to partisipate to obstruct everything, the good of the contry be damned. If Pelosi and company forget that, the criminals will be running the hill again in two years.

by herbal tee 2006-12-30 06:22AM | 0 recs
Re: FL-13: Democrats To Seat Buchanan, For Now

It appears the "villain" in this case was the local official who designed the ballot.  Unfortunately, in FL, we keep discovering that these folks are Democrats who are not quite up to their jobs.  Let's do a better job before the elections next time.

by Francis Vecellio 2006-12-30 06:35AM | 0 recs
Re: FL-13: Democrats To Seat Buchanan, For Now

Kathy Dent runs elections in Sarasota, and she is a Republican.  And she is promoting the idea that ballot design was the problem because she conscientiously ignored reports of machine malfunction during early voting, since she was trying to save touchscreen voting from an amendment to the county charter mandating a paper trail (ironically, the amendment passed overwhelmingly, and touchscreens are being scrapped in Sarasota County).

by Jay R 2006-12-30 10:47AM | 0 recs
Re: FL-13: Democrats To Seat Buchanan, For Now

In 1985,despite a disputed election, House Democrats seated Frank McCloskey  as the Congressman from Eighth District of Indiana, seting off a chain of events which led to Newt Gingrich and the Contract on America.
This is prbably a little smarter than the stunt Tip O'Neill and Co. pulled off, but with the Blog Birch Societry, that kind of reaction should we expect?

Speaker Peolis to ex-Spekaer Hstert on day:
"Good morning, GCongressman! How are you?"

THe Blog Birch Reaticon:
"CAVE IN! RUBBER STAMP! WIMOY DEMS! WIMPY DEMS!"
WAH! WAH! WAH!

by spirowasright 2006-12-30 09:37AM | 0 recs
Setting a very bad precident

They have it exactly wrong.  They are setting the precident that unverifiable elections shall be presumed legitimate when they should be declaring the opposite.

by Steve in Sacto 2006-12-30 10:12AM | 0 recs
Wake-up Nancy Pelosi-!!


It always amazes me how Democrats just don't get it.  They close their eyes and just pretend,or imagine out of whole cloth, that the Republicans and right-wing accessories are going to now suddenly be civil and "play by the rules".

Just what planet are they living on?

There should have been vigorous protest and outrage over the myriad of 2000 Election shenanigans, the 2004 Ohio/Ken Blackwell debacle, and now this as well.

Seat the Republican anyway?  Despite the loss of 18,000 votes.
Just how does this usher in a new era of ethics and integrity.  

And just how can you "take Impeachment off the table" when you haven't even called one witness yet or even started on any Investigations?  Shouldn't an Investigation go wherever the facts and the evidence leads in search of justice?  This is like a judge or jury ruling out any sentence before a Trial has begun.  What then are you left with?

It is time for the Democratic Party to wake-up and realize that they have been abused, stolen from, and obstructed year after year and decade and decade in a way that is dishonest, corrupt, and unDemocratic.  

That behavior will simply repeat and continue to repeat year after year after year until the Democratic Party finally gets a backbone and holds them accountable for each and every act of deceit and abuse.

Ask yourself the question would the GOP ever just happily seat a Democat had they emerged from an Election that was found to be 18,000 votes in error?   Would the GOP ever declare "Impeachment off the table" if Al Gore (not that he ever would have) routinely lied and fabicrated a devastating Invasion killing 100,000s of people, and even condoned Torture and violating the Bill of Rights?  Of course not.

Nancy Pelosi is off to a terribly cowardice start to her reign as House Speaker.

Simply put, unless the Democratic Party is willing to deem unlawful behavior and unlawful acts as UNLAWFUL and subject to serious legal consequences, they will then continue to be accomplices to their own demise and the end of any hope for our Nation.

You can never end the lawlessness unless it is understood by all to be unlawful.

Wake-up Nancy Pelosi-!!

by DerekLarsson 2006-12-30 09:36PM | 0 recs

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