Can we get this guy to be Florida's Secretary of State?

I've heard about Ion Sancho ever since the 2000 election debacle, and he seems like the kind of guy I'd want running an election, no matter what party he belonged to, because it sounds like he's more concerned in the process than in the outcome. And hell, if Diebold, ES&S, and Sequoia all hate you, you must be doing something right.

With the memory of a botched 2000 presidential election still etched in the minds of most elections supervisors in the state, Leon County's Ion Sancho is now finding he can't get the equipment he says he needs to guarantee an honest election.

Vendors of the ATM-like electronic voting machines, tired of Sancho's criticisms over the level of security in their software, no longer want to do business with him or the county. All three companies certified to do business in Florida -- Diebold Inc., Election Systems & Software Inc. and Sequoia Voting Systems Inc. -- have said "no."

Sancho's insistence on quality also has angered several Florida officials, including Gov. Jeb Bush, and has already cost his county more than a half million dollars.

Nonetheless, the feisty 55-year-old has his share of supporters, with the Tallahassee Democrat dubbing him "a zealous solider in election reform battles."

"Ion is one of the few to ask the questions," said Herbert Thompson, chief security strategist for Boston-based firm Security Innovation. "Like, what is this thing actually doing to my vote? How is it processing my vote?"

That's the kind of questions any person interested in the ideal of democracy ought to be acking, and yes, it may be asking a lot that the people in charge of elections actually care more about process than outcome, but shouldn't we be asking a lot of ourselves? Yeah, it's idealistic, but hell, Bush talks a mean idealistic streak about democracy (not that he means it, or even understands a damn word of it, but he talks it)--might we at least try for an ideal in what is supposed to constitute the very basis of our form of government, the free and open election?

Keep asking those questions, Ion, and if you ever decide to go after bigger game, I'll knock doors for you.

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