Judge Delays Audit of Voting Machines in Florida House Recount

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A circuit court judge Tuesday temporarily delayed a state audit of touch-screen voting machines used in the contest for the seat Rep. Katherine Harris gave up to make her failed Senate run.

Sarasota Circuit Judge Deno Economou delayed the audit until both candidates can get their own experts involved in the investigation.

The order does not halt an ongoing recount in the congressional race to replace Harris.

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Electronic voting machines in Sarasota County reported 18,382 people — about one in eight voters — did not vote for either Republican Vern Buchanan or Democrat Christine Jennings, but made choices in other races. That rate was much higher than other counties in the district.

Lawyers for both candidates told the judge at an emergency hearing Tuesday they wanted their own experts on hand to participate with an audit team sent to Sarasota by Florida Secretary of State Sue Cobb. The team had expected to begin testing machines on Wednesday.

Buchanan currently leads Jennings by only 377 votes — about 0.2 percent. The recount continued Tuesday.

All parties are due back in court Thursday to set a new timetable for the audit.