This Error-Free Florida Election Brought to You By eBay

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As Jeb Bush said at the press conference Friday: "Had we not done it, shame on us."

Yes, by the 2002 election, the state of Florida will no longer be the sinkhole of American democracy, now that the Republican-dominated state legislature (remember that phrase?) passed — nearly unanimously — a comprehensive, better-luck-next-time, $32 million fix for their rickety electoral machinery. Provisions run the gamut from a statewide installation of optical-scanner and touch-screen voting machines to a $6 million voter education program, the state's first-ever expenditure in that area.

But if shame worked wonders on getting state legislators to cut that check, just think of how officials feel in the sinkhole's epicenter — Palm Beach County, of "butterfly ballot" and "hanging chad" fame. The county will receive $1.9 million from the state to replace those disco-era Votomatics with shiny new optical-scan machines (think lottery ticket machines).

But supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore says the county will be going all the way into the 21st century and splurging on touch-screen voting machines (think ATMs) at a cost of somewhere near $14 million. Nothing but the best.

And so, to make up the difference, Palm Beach County is going the way of the Ballot-Carrying Ryder Truck, which went for some $40,000 in a Yahoo online auction, and auctioning off the county's 5,000 Votomatics on eBay.

LePore told the Washington Post that some of her colleagues are expecting to haul in $10 million, though she thinks that's a bit optimistic for briefcase-sized plastic apparati that cost $150 new.

But with a piece of history — even a shameful one — you never know.