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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida 13: All but over



The congressional task force investigating the contested election for the Sarasota-area U.S. House seat, District 13, on Friday dismissed the case, likely closing the books on Christine Jennings' last hopes.

As you might recall, back in November 2006 Jennings narrowly lost to Republican Vern Buchanan in the race to fill the seat vacated by Republican Rep. Katherine Harris.

But some 18,000 people in a Democratic-leaning area of the district who voted in the U.S. Senate race that day for some reason never registered a vote in the House race , leading Jennings to claim that faulty touch-screen voting machines were to blame.

Friday morning,the House Administration Committee's Election Task Force unanimously passed a motion to dismiss the Jennings contest after the Government Accountability Office presented a final report showing that independent testing of the voting machines concluded "with reasonable assurance" the voting machines were not to blame for the large under vote.

“This investigation served a critical role in fulfilling the House’s constitutional responsibility when seating members of Congress," said Rep. Charles Gonzalez, D-Texas, chairman of the task force.  "From the beginning, this task force deemed it necessary to have a thorough, independent, nonpartisan review of the contested election, and that is exactly what the GAO provided.”

You can read the full GAO report here.

The task force's decision still needs approval from the House Adminstration Committee and the full U.S. House, but that approval is likely. Jennings, a banker who is running again this year, issued a statement saying she accepted the verdict.

She said she also beleived her challenge "achieved real results" for Florida voters because touch-screen voting machines are now banned in the state.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 1:09pm]


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