Age and undervotes correlated, paper finds

Published January 3, 2007


Sarasota County precincts with larger proportions of older voters registered larger percentages of ballots without a choice in a disputed congressional race, a newspaper's analysis found.

Data from the Nov. 7 election showed an undervote of 18 percent in precincts where the median age was greater than 65 - 40 percent higher than in precincts with younger voters, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported Tuesday.

The analysis supports some experts' theory that poor ballot design made the District 13 race easy to overlook on the county's touch screen machines and that the age of a voter compounded the problem. The contest was at the top of a screen with a far more prominently displayed governor's race with six candidates.

Eighteen thousand Sarasota County electronic ballots did not register a vote in the race, a much higher undervote rate - nearly 15 percent - than in others such as those for governor or U.S. Senate.

Democrat Christine Jennings has asked Congress to examine the 369-vote win by Republican Vern Buchanan, contending that malfunctioning voting machines were to blame. A state audit, however, found no evidence of malfunctions.


Infant killed, 5 injured in drive-by shooting

Investigators on Tuesday were looking for suspects and a motive in a drive-by shooting that left an infant dead and five adults injured.

Several people were gathered outside a Riviera Beach home about 11:30 p.m. Monday when a sport utility vehicle pulled up and two people inside opened fire, Palm Beach County sheriff's officials said. They think at least 37 shots were fired.

Eight-month-old Tavares Carter, in the back seat of a vehicle in front of the home, died at a hospital. Five adults were shot, some several times, and were taken to hospitals.

Sheriff's spokesman Paul Miller said it appeared the home had been targeted. People "were running for their lives," he said.


Peace activists honor ex-Abu Ghraib soldier

About 150 peace activists gathered at a cathedral to honor a soldier who became a conscientious objector after his service at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Aidan Delgado, an Army mechanic during his time in Iraq, accepted the Duisberg Peace Award Monday during a World Peace Day event.

While working at Abu Ghraib, Delgado said, he became disillusioned. He refused to carry a rifle, studied Buddhism and applied for conscientious-objector status, which was granted only after he completed his tour.

Delgado is the third person to be presented the Duisberg Peace Award by the Southwest Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice, an umbrella group representing 23 local religious and civic organizations. Previous winners included Faith Fippinger, who acted as a human shield at the onset of the Iraq War, and Helen Caldicott, an Australian anti-nuclear activist.