Palm Beach County, Irv Slosberg and the case of the missing voting machine

votamatic machine voting (Large)
irv slosberg
Irv Slosberg

It’s a cold case.

It’s an old case.

And it may not amount to a hill of beans.

But now that Irv Slosberg is contemplating a run for the state Senate, local chatter about a 16-year-old matter is making the rounds once again.

We all remember the 2000 presidential election and the razor-thin victory by George W. Bush over Al Gore. We also remember hanging chads, recounts, ballot punch cards and the famed Votamatic machines — cheesy name, sounds like something advertised on late night TV. “Vot-a-matic: It dices, it slices, it creates hanging chads.”

We also recall that ground zero was Palm Beach County.

And there was this race for the state House of Representatives where the winner also squeaked out a victory — by a razor-thin margin.

His name was, and is, Irv Slosberg.

Slosberg, it turns out, was in possession of a Votamatic voting machine, a machine he should NOT have been anywhere near. That is not in dispute.

According to several news sources, he at first denied having the machine in his car. But after police began an inquiry, he changed his story and admitted to having it in his possession.

The story gets a little weirder at this point.

At first, Slosberg refused to turn over the voting machine to the police — a machine owned by the county — but apparently the threat of legal action helped him see the light, and he eventually handed it over.

What the heck was a candidate doing with a voting machine in his car? Were ballots missing? Could that machine have mattered in the House race? Could it have mattered in the selection of the President of the United States?

Let’s go out on a grassy knoll limb here for just a moment and have a little “what if” fun. Heavy Democratic county. Al Gore hanging on by a chad, and a missing voting machine. Did Slosberg cause the election of George Bush?

Highly unlikely. Extremely unlikely. Kind of silly, actually.

However, we will never know what he was doing with an actual voting machine in his car because the county supervisor, Theresa LePore, declined to press charges — and for good reason.

You see, she was kind of busy trying to manage a recount with THE WHOLE WORLD WATCHING. And she not only admitted as much, she told reporters she had too much on her plate to worry about it. Fair enough.

No charges were ever pressed.

No further questions we ever asked.

It’s an old, cold case and one that will never be resolved.

But it will be a narrative in a potential Florida state Senate race nearly 16 years after the fact.

Oh, Palm Beach County…

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


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