http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20071102/NEWS/711020314/1417/RSS02

Herald Tribune

Southwest Florida's Information Leader

 

Voting group plans to appeal ruling Appeals court struck down extra audits; state Supreme Court is next

 

By JEREMY WALLACE

jeremy.wallace@heraldtribune.com

 

 

 

SARASOTA -- A day after an appeals court struck down election reforms in Sarasota County as unconstitutional, a community group says it will take the case to the Florida Supreme Court.

 

Kindra Muntz, leader of the Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections, said the reforms included tougher auditing procedures for voting equipment that are critical to fair elections.

 

"It's too important," she said. "We decided we will go to the Supreme Court."

 

On Wednesday, the 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled that Sarasota County cannot have a more aggressive auditing procedure than the rest of the state.

 

In a charter amendment that Muntz' group helped pass in 2006, the county would have been required to audit 5 percent of the precincts after each election. The state law requires just 1 percent.

 

Muntz said Sarasota County voters should have the right to place tougher standards on their elections to assure accurate results.

 

In its decision against SAFE, the appeals court judge recommended that the Florida Supreme Court review the case because it is a "matter of great public importance."

 

Muntz said that language helped make the decision to petition the Supreme Court.

 

The charter amendment passed last November with 55 percent of the vote.

 

The amendment required the county to change to a paper-ballot voting system and spelled out the tougher auditing standards.

 

The court's decision will not affect the county's voting machines, because earlier this year Gov. Charlie Crist signed into law a measure requiring all counties to go to a paper voting system.

 

The lawsuit seeking to strike down the amendment was filed by Secretary of State Kurt Browning, Sarasota Elections Supervisor Kathy Dent and the Sarasota County Commission.

 

Muntz said she expected the appeal to the Supreme Court to be filed this week.

 

Contact Jeremy Wallace at 361-4966 or jeremy.wallace@ heraldtribune.com.

Last modified: November 02. 2007 12:00AM

 

Serving the Herald-Tribune newspaper and SNN Channel 6 Sarasota Herald-Tribune. All rights reserved.