Father God must be extremely unhappy with Katherine Harris. Not content with her complete humiliation at the polls just less than three weeks ago, He has decided to trample her legacy as Florida Secretary of State to bits, burn the bits to ashes, then bury the ashes in the cat litter box.
Katherine Harris is staying out of the bitter fight about the election results in the race to fill her congressional seat.
But the contested race is likely to further cement her political legacy with election controversy. The same touch-screen voting machines Harris praised in 2001 as an end to Florida’s embarrassing election problems are now under national scrutiny after recording an unusually high number of voters as skipping the race to replace her in Congress.
Harris and Gov. Jeb Bush touted electronic voting as the end of election problems in Florida, where hanging chads and other punch-card voting mishaps made the state a national joke in the 2000 election.
Harris backed an election-overhaul law passed in 2001 that outlawed punch-card ballots in favor of touch-screen devices or optical-scan machines that read paper ballots. After the machines won certification in Florida in August 2001, her office issued a statement calling touch-screen machines “a significant leap forward for Florida’s voting systems.”
“Now we’re the national model instead of the national concern. There’ll never be a hanging, dangling or pregnant chad again,” Harris said in 2001.
Harris, who lost her bid for U.S. Senate, did not respond to several messages left this week by The Associated Press.
The chads are history, but so is any hope of discerning what almost 18,000 Sarasota County voters meant Nov. 7 when they cast ballots in other races but skipped the race between Republican Vern Buchanan and Democrat Christine Jennings.
The percentage of skipped votes is about six times higher than in the district’s other counties, a statistic Jennings’ cites in her legal challenge of Buchanan’s 369-vote win. She has asked a Tallahassee circuit judge to order a new election.