Mounting pressure for a paper trail in FL and Washington

Continuing troubles in Florida counties - and a Dem-controlled Congress - means a paper-trail law may be on its way.

In Florida and Washington, pressure is mounting to do something about the state of voting in the country. After problems with e-voting in a Florida county - and with Democrats in control of Congress - the odds are good that state and federal legislation will be passed to address the issues, The Orlando Sentinel reports.

Today, a state audit will begin to determine why thousands of ballots were cast in Sarasota County with no choice recorded in the District 13 House race between Democrat Christine Jennings and Republican Vern Buchanan, whom officials have named the winner by a 369-vote margin.

At the top of Florida legislators' agenda is passing a law requiring e-voting machines to have a paper trail.

With a goal of restoring public confidence in elections, state Democrats, including House Minority Leader Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, and Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Fort Lauderdale, expect to lead the effort in Tallahassee for paper-trail legislation. But the concept has at least marginal support from top Republicans, including Gov.-elect Charlie Crist and House Speaker Marco Rubio, R-Miami, according to their aides.

Though outgoing Republican Gov. Jeb Bush has opposed legislation mandating a voter-verified paper trail, Crist has expressed some support for it. Rubio said he would "be in favor of any measures" to make sure that all votes are counted and "that people have faith in the election" system.

In Washington, Democrats are promoting legislation mandating paper audits that has been stalled for years. But it's now clear the measure will pass the House and Democrats think they may eke out a victory in the Senate.

Although there's mounting pressure to guarantee all Floridians' votes are counted, the Secretary of State maintains all is basically well in the state.

"We're a large state with over 30,000 pieces of voting equipment being operated by millions of residents," said Sterling Ivey, a spokesman for Secretary of State Sue Cobb, who heads Florida's Division of Elections. "This is a very large, complex system, and the secretary has been confident that the voters are being heard, that their votes are being counted. Until an audit determines otherwise, we have to be confident."

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