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The afterlife of a Florida voting machine

Saturday, October 13th, 2007

Polling place

Following the messy 2000 election that made Florida’s punchcard voting system famous, many of the Votomatic machines at the center of the controversy got a glamorous second act, Abby Goodnough writes in today’s New York Times. Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren, the Smithsonian Institution and even New York art galleries made an effort to get ahold of the machines.

Seven years later, the Votomatic’s replacement, the touch-screen voting machine, is losing favor amongst election administrators, voting rights and research groups nationwide because of security concerns. In Florida, the machines will all but disappear by the 2008 election. Goodnough says that unlike their predecessors, these machines may not get the same star treatment on the way out the door. Possible destinations: a Veterans Affairs hospital who has had issues with a cauda equina compensation case before and the scrap pile.

This was the part of the article I found most interesting. Resale, anyone?

Sequoia Voting Systems, which manufactured some of Florida’s machines, offered to buy them back for a bleak $1 apiece.

“We’re not accepting that offer,” said Sterling Ivey, a spokesman for the Florida Division of Elections. “We can get more for our money.”

In our October 3rd episode, I visited with California Secretary of State Debra Bowen to hear more about problems with touch-screen voting. She recently decertified many of them for use in the 2008 election. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out.

Photo of sign via toner’s Flickr photostream

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