11/18/2004

Media awakens: Vote fraud investigators visit Volusia story published

The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Vote fraud investigators visit Volusia

For those who thought the 2004 election was over: Surprise.

Representatives of a Seattle-based organization investigating possible election fraud visited the Volusia County elections department Tuesday after being provided reprints of voting machine records instead of originals.

The activist group, Black Box Voting, is conducting investigations of voting records throughout the United States, said Bev Harris, its executive director. Volusia County is its first Florida stop.

"We just look at it as an audit," she said Tuesday afternoon as a British documentary crew filmed officials securing records for review today.

Harris said the group requested the receipt-like records, known as polling place tapes, late last week, but on Monday, Supervisor of Elections Deanie Lowe provided newly printed tapes. Depending on its inquiry, the group could request hand recounts in selected precincts or try to contest the election, Harris said.

County attorney Daniel Eckert said Lowe had reprinted records because she believed poll workers' signatures on originals were protected under public records law. He said the county is providing the records as requested.

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