In problematic House District 13, where about 18,000 cast ballots mysteriously didn't include votes for a hotly contested House race, state officials officially certified Republican Vern Buchanan the winner by 369 votes over Democrat Christine Jennings, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.
Democrats immediately followed with a lawsuit asking for a new election and an inquiry into the inner workings of the e-voting machines used in southwest Florida.
''Nobody with a straight face can make an argument that there's not a problem here and the problem lies in those machines,'' said U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd, (D). ''Our job now is to figure out what happened and how to correct it - and how to get this particular election right.''
Boyd and attorny Kendall Coffee said there was an under-vote of about 18,000 in Sarasota County - ballots that recorded votes in races for the U.S. Senate, governor, the Legislature and city or county offices, but made no choice in the Buchanan-Jennings race for Congress. They said some voters undoubtedly skipped a few races but that the under-vote in other counties, and among mailed absentee ballots, was only 2 to 3 percent.
Perhaps more important than the results of the close election is the demand to get inside the touchscreen computer.
Because of trade secrets and legal exemptions for security, they said, state and county elections officials have refused to let anyone check the ''source codes'' in the guts of the balloting equipment.
''This one is going to require significant, thorough forensic testing,'' said Coffey. ''You can test-drive all you want, but until you get inside the hood of the car, you're not going to really be able to diagnose why the engine broke down.''
Without that, Boyd hinted, the Democratic-controlled House may have to think twice about seating Jennings.
''Ultimately, the U.S. House has the authority, under the Constitution, to make a decision about who it seats to represent a particular district,'' he said. ''What we would hope is that they would cooperate and stop stonewalling, and open up their process and let us look at the software in a way that can determine what happened.''