February 12, 2010

Florida Supreme Court rules in favor of paper ballots and random audits

The Florida Supreme Court has just ruled in the appeal of Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections et al. v. Browning et al.

They ruled that the major portions of our county charter amendment, Parts a and b, requiring paper ballots and mandatory, random audits (spot checks) of machine counts are constitutional.

Part c (requiring under certain circumstances that all ballots be audited prior to certifying elections) was ruled unconstitutional, but the Court severed part c from the law. Parts a (paper ballots) and b (mandatory spot audits) remain in the law and are valid.

We knew that the ruling on part c was a possibility, but are very pleased with the positive rulings for paper ballots and mandatory audits. The ruling that Florida law does not preempt home rule charter counties from adding protections for voters is a huge success. We still look forward to the day when the Florida legislature enacts a law similar to part c of our charter amendment which requires an audit of all ballots prior to certification if it appears that the machines may be malfunctioning.

As the first Article of the Florida Constitution says, "All political power is inherent in the people."

This decision is a major victory for the people of Florida.

Kindra Muntz
President, Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections, www.safevote. org
Co-Founder, Florida Voters Coalition, www.floridavoters. org

Ruling is at: