Voting Suppressed in Hillsborough County, Florida

Jeb Bush Appointee, Election Supervisor, Buddy Johnson (Hillsborough, Florida) continued his pattern of poor performance in the Tampa elections.
In an election where a candidate missed a runoff by just 37 votes, the last thing anybody wanted was a controversy over two precincts that were switched without letters sent to the voters.

But Hillsborough Elections Supervisor Buddy Johnson maintains he did nothing wrong in switching precincts 215 and 217 in Tampa, where voters got no written notification of the change. He says the electorate got the message anyway and flocked to the new polling place in remarkable numbers.

Johnson's story, however, is contradicted by elections records and interviews conducted by the St. Petersburg Times.

For more on Johnson's poor performance:
Not notifying voters about precinct changes is the latest in a string of voting problems under Buddy Johnson.

August 2004: At an early voting site, one of Johnson's workers leaves a voting machine in the "test" mode, resulting in the loss of 245 votes. Johnson's staff does not report the lost votes to the state for 13 days, making the 245 votes void.

September 2004: Johnson's vote tabulation machines slow to a crawl, delaying final vote counts until almost dawn, making it one of the slowest vote counts in the state. Johnson blames the failure of a "software indexing system."

November 2004: Witnesses say Johnson tries to butt in line to vote in a crowded early voting site at the College Hill Library. Johnson backs out after being caught on videotape, denies doing anything wrong and later votes on Election Day at his Plant City precinct.

July 2006: A private group seeking to put the question of a county mayor on the 2006 ballot fails. After a private audit, the Taking Back Hillsborough Group says the petition drive failed because Johnson's office lost hundreds of petitions and inexplicably rejected many others that bore valid signatures.

March 2007: A total of 2,535 voters in precincts 215 and 217 in Tampa receive no written notification of a relocation of their polling places. An untold number of voters fail to vote.

[Last modified March 21, 2007, 02:05:44]