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In Stuart, Sen. Nelson urges voting machine audit

By Charlie Reed staff writer for TCPalm.com
August 5, 2004

STUART — Citing an increased risk for malfunction in touch-screen voting machines such as those now used in Martin County, Sen. Bill Nelson on Wednesday urged state officials to audit the new system before Election Day.

"We need voting machines that do not malfunction. We have to make sure this is an election the people accept," Nelson said while addressing the Martin County Democratic Club at Blake Library.

Martin, Palm Beach and Indian River counties are among 15 in Florida that use the new technology, which Nelson said is eight times more likely to misread votes according to an analysis by the Sun-Sentinel newspaper.

Nelson sent a letter to Secretary of State Glenda Hood this week asking her to audit the touch-screen systems before November. "I think she'll honor my request because it makes common sense," he said.

Nelson criticized the Bush administration for deceiving the American public and Congress in the months leading up to the war in Iraq and for not reaching out to U.S. allies for help in the following occupation efforts.

He encouraged the 100-plus Democrats in the audience to get as many Democrats to the polls as possible to vote for presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

"This election year is the most important ever facing the country," he said.

Maggy Hurchalla, a longtime leader for local Democrats, echoed the sentiment. "This is surely the most important election in my lifetime," she said.

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