18,000 Votes (and One Congresswoman) Lost

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Count on Florida to devise the electronic equivalent of a butterfly ballot. In Sarasota,

Democrat Christine Jennings lost to Republican Vern Buchanan by 368 votes, making it the second closest congressional race in the country. More than 18,000 voters who showed up at the polls voted in other races but not the Buchanan-Jennings race…. If the missing votes had broken for Jennings by the same percentage as the counted votes in Sarasota County, the Democrat would have won the race by about 600 votes instead of losing by 368.

Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent played dumb at a press conference Wednesday, hinting that voters at the polls chose not to vote:

“I do not know what to attribute it completely to. It’s not a mechanical issue; it would be voters overlooking the race. We did not have any equipment failure…. I’m not a mind reader.”

But Dent knew about the problem before the election. She told poll workers to warn voters that the congressional race was easy to miss on the touch-screens. Someone better remind this Kathy what happened to another one not too far away.

While Buchanan, the Republican, says he has the voters’ mandate, both parties are mustering lawyers and money.

Just goes to show how little technology can compensate for human error, much less corruption.

—April Rabkin

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate