Christine Jennings, the presumptive loser in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, is officially contesting the race results in Congress, alleging widespread voting machine irregularities, Congressional Quarterly reports.
The House Administration Committee will decide whether to proceed with an investigation of the complaint. Since the 109th Congress is over, the investigation will be run by a Democratic-controlled committee.
While Jennings’ complaint now officially rests in the hands of the House committee, the conflict over the election’s outcome creates an even more pressing situation for incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and other House Democratic leaders: whether to seat Buchanan as the certified winner in Florida 13.
The House will be forced to make this choice if a single member challenges Buchanan’s right to the seat. The members would then have to choose between seating Buchanan unconditionally, seating Buchanan conditionally “pending the outcome of an investigation” or leaving the seat vacant pending resolution of the dispute, according to a Congressional Research Service report.
The issue is centered on 18,000 missing votes in Sarasota County. Cast on e-voting machines in a race where Jennings was running strong in Sarasota, it's quite a curious thing that so many voters opted not to vote in a close election.
Jennings argues that the Sarasota County undervotes greatly exceeded those cast in the rest of the 13th District, which the Democrat charges is the result of voting machines in Sarasota failing to register many intended votes for the House candidates.
At least one expert believes that Jennings' assertion has merit.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology political science department chairman Charles Stewart has testified on Jennings’ behalf, stating that his analysis of the undervotes and Jennings’ recorded support should have won the race. “Had the electronic machines not malfunctioned, Jennings would have won the election by at least 739 votes, and possibly by as many as 825 votes,” read Stewart’s printed declaration to the court.