The Tuesday primaries were rather uneventful in Tampa, as there were no problems. As for the rest of the state though, another election-day controversy was boiling. Who was to blame for the various mix-ups and setbacks that occurred? Among those blamed so far are the pollsters, the voters and the state officials charged with the responsibility of cleaning-up Florida’s voting facilities after the 2000 presidential election. However, the obvious, but over-looked answer is Katherine Harris, the person who vowed to reform voting in the state of Florida after the 2000 election. The new measures don’t seem to have been very effective and worse yet, instead of being held accountable for not doing her job, Harris is now a state representative.
During an interview with Larry King in Feb. 2001, Harris said, “I had to be able to live with myself, no matter what happened after the election.” Part of that was revamping the voting process. Harris and her associates spent $32 million on voting reform and an additional $6 million on voter education programs designed to teach election officials how to use and maintain the new machines and help voters understand the new process. Considering those facts, it’s interesting to note that the main problems with the primaries were found in six or so of the same counties that were focused on in 2000. So much for voter education.
In her interview with King, Harris also said, “I couldn’t possibly leave (office) until I had the assurance that we’ll have the model systems in the country.” In fact, Harris resigned her position this past summer in order to concentrate on her bid for the state senate. If the primaries were any indication of her assurance as to the effectiveness of Florida’s voting procedures, it should really be disturbing to Floridians.
The next time anyone in Florida promises to reform the voting procedures, it should probably be taken with a grain of salt. Maybe the process will be fixed before the official gubernatorial election. But if the past is any indication, don’t count on it.