By Elana Schor - 11/21/06 12:00 AM EST
The fate of Rep. Katherine Harris’s (R-Fla.) House seat will be decided in court. Democratic nominee Christine Jennings filed suit Monday to ask for a new election that would resolve her dispute of 17,000 undervoted ballots in the district’s most Democratic-leaning county.
The 17,000 ballots, cast on electronic voting machines, comprise about 15 percent of the vote total in Sarasota County, disproportionately higher than in other counties in the district, according to a Jennings campaign release. Republican nominee Vern Buchanan currently leads by 369 votes as a manual recount continues, but Jennings’s complaint in Florida Circuit Court could push the process into next year.
The suit details eyewitness complaints in Sarasota County, which Jennings won by 53 percent to 47, and attributes the undervotes to voting machine error. Jennings’s campaign is represented by Kendall Coffey, a veteran of the 2000 Bush-Gore recount battle in Florida in which Harris — who stepped down from the contested seat to run for Senate — played a central role.