"To encourage citizen ownership of transparent, participatory democracy."
~ The Creekside Declaration
Anita Lapidus, 1954-2015
We at FFEC are mourning the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Anita L. Lapidus who passed away on Wednesday, July 8, of complications following surgery. Anita was one of the founding members of both Florida Fair Elections Coalition and the Center, its research branch. From 2004 to 2008, she served as general counsel. In addition, she advised FFEC on legislative and legal issues. Her opinion on the Volusia County Council's options during the debate on the purchase of disabled accessible equipment was ultimately vindicated by the courts, while contrary advice and threats from attorneys for the state of Florida, the vendor, and a national disabilities group were repudiated.In 2006, she worked with several state senators to draft a bill requiring paper-based voting systems. Along with co-founders Pynchon and Garber, she lobbied the legislature and worked with established civil rights organizations to devise cooperative strategies for election reform. She authored the organization's training for citizen election observation, conducted sessions at election reform workshops, and served as FFEC's election protection attorney at canvassing board meetings, recounts, and audits.
In 2008, she resigned from FFEC to accept a position with Legal Services of Mid-Florida where she represented low-income homeowners facing foreclosure during the height of the foreclosure crisis. In recent years, she advocated for homeless people in Volusia County. She held a JD from the Cardozo School of Law, where she was an associate editor of the law review and an LLM from Columbia Law School where she was a teaching fellow.
Most of all, she was a wonderful friend to us, loving wife to her husband Jerry, and devoted mother to her daughter Kim. We will miss her more than we can say.
FFEC Joins Call for Election Reform Task Force
In 2012, Florida once again became synonymous with everything that is wrong with American elections. The entire nation watched as Florida conducted a shameful and relentless war on voters, for partisan advantage. Election reform advocates are now calling for a task force to investigate how Florida elections should be reformed.
Florida Fair Elections Coalition adds its voice to the call for a task force like the one put together following the 2000 election debacle. We remind all concerned, however, that the recommendations of the previous task force were largely unheeded. This time we must make sure that reforms are not just suggested, but implemented. Further, we caution that bringing fair elections to Florida will require taking the partisans out of the process to the extent possible--not an easy task. But as long as the partisans make and enforce the rules, no amount of tinkering around the edges will bring real and lasting change.
Election 2012--Votes Unnecessarily Lost
Just hours after the start of early voting, the scanners at every early voting site in Volusia County began jamming and displaying error messages. Ballots were placed in the compartment to be scanned at the end of the day. With only one scanner in service at each location, the lines soon became long, with voters waiting up to two hours.
Voters generally realized that the problem was that there should have been more than one scanner in service. What most didn't know, however, was that this particular voting machine is known to experience jamming problems when processing a multi-page ballot. A product advisory from the vendor in early 2011 describes the problem. Click here to read advisory.
The problem was addressed promptly, but because the scanner was not in service to provide the protections mandated by state and federal law, some votes have now been lost. At Ormond Beach, at least 12 votes have been lost due to overvoting--a common voter error that can be caught and corrected when the scanner is working properly. We assume similar numbers were lost at the other four early voting sites.
We ask once again why the vendor and the state of Florida are under no obligation to inform our elections officials about known problems with the equipment.
Welcome to FFEC's website! We will be posting new reports, press releases, and other information on a variety of Florida election issues--from voter registration and voter purges to voting system performance. We will also be posting election data from previous Florida elections. So come back often to check for new information.
FFEC's research on the DS200 may help save votes in New York as well as Florida and Wisconsin. On June 28, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU filed suit on behalf of a large coalition of voting rights organizations and citizens groups to force the state to make changes to the overvote feature before allowing the machine to be used in upcoming elections. We are pleased to have worked with the Brennan Center on this important project.
Why the DS200 Should Not Be Certified
A summary of findings from our 2009 report about excessive overvoting on the DS200 and recommendations for immediate changes to protect Florida voters.
Findings from Miami-Dade Ballot Inspection
The findings from our inspection of ballots from Miami-Dade's 2008 presidential election to determine the reason for its very high rate of lost votes due to overvoting.
June 23, 2009
Florida Fair Elections Coalition is a nonpartisan, nonprofit grassroots organization that serves the public good as an election watchdog, educational and research group, and advocate for fair, transparent, accessible, secure, and verifiable elections throughout Florida.
Since our founding in DeLand, Florida, in November 2004, we have expanded to include partnerships with other election integrity and civil rights groups at the local, state, and national level.