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.