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February 19, 2019
Home Politics Recounts a ordinary nightmare in Florida politics

Recounts a ordinary nightmare in Florida politics

Recounts a recurring nightmare in Florida politics


Senator Invoice Nelson has referred to as for a recount. Do the vote margins in his race towards Rick Scott name for one?
Nate Chute, IndyStar

This ain’t our first recount rodeo, Florida.

No longer by means of a protracted shot.

However it is already turning out to be a three-ring humdinger.

The Mom of All Recounts was once the 2000 Presidential Election, which gave us all number of chads – placing, dimpled and pregnant, butterfly ballots, overvotes and undercounts, and chants of Sore Loserman by means of Brooks Brothers Rioters.

The recount struggle spawned conspiracy theories, unfounded claims of voter fraud, and complaints that went to the Florida Ultimate Court docket to the U.S. Ultimate Court docket and again. It additionally introduced election reforms that experience unfold around the nation.

“Such a lot of reforms had been applied right here first,” Former Leon County Manager of Elections Ion Sancho stated. “It’s an ideal legacy we’ve right here in in Florida.”


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Florida’s mishandling of that election changed into a countrywide comic story for past due evening communicate display hosts. It additionally made Florida the poster kid for election reform, a lesson we nonetheless have not rather were given proper.

Each election since, one thing turns out to head incorrect and the general tally will get behind schedule. And Broward County frequently appears to be on the epicenter.

As soon as once more, the Sunshine State is heading into election time beyond regulation — however this time with an extraordinary 3 statewide races within the stability vital to Republicans keeping up a 20-year-old grip at the state capitol and to flipping a U.S. Senate seat purple.

The election recount must be made more uncomplicated on account of adjustments in state regulation that make recounts obligatory and set particular closing dates for submitting effects. However those self same reforms resulted in an building up in early vote casting and mail-in ballots that take a very long time to ensure.

Election 2018 time beyond regulation: For the most recent updates at the recount entrance, click on right here.

And the brewing political struggle surrounding the recount will simplest upload to the power election officers already face.

5 days in, the traces were drawn. Each events have recruited tough legal professionals to report felony demanding situations and despatched observers to canvassing forums across the state. 

So what is the distinction between then and now? What has modified in eighteen years?

The function of governor

For something, Florida’s two-term governor is overseeing an election whilst concurrently operating for U.S. Senate, a statewide election being supervised by means of a Secretary of State he appointed.

Again tale: Conceivable Senate recount could be overseen by means of Rick Scott appointee, former Democrat

Eighteen years in the past, Gov. Jeb Bush was once two years into his first time period as governor when his older brother was once operating for president. 

Gov. Rick Scott set the tone for the recount problem along with his sharply partisan feedback Thursday evening, ahead of the primary unofficial vote have been tabulated: “I will be able to no longer sit down idly by means of whilst unethical liberals attempt to thieve this election.”

Day after today, the Florida Division of Legislation Enforcement contradicted Scott, pronouncing there was once no investigation and no proof of election fraud.

The Democrats right away jumped on Scott for misuse of place of business.

“Scott is abusing the overall pressure of his public place of business as governor to prevent a whole and correct counting of all of the votes in Florida – which might decide whether or not he wins or loses,” stated U.S. Sen. Invoice Nelson, who seemed to have misplaced to Scott on Election evening.


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Bush persevered identical grievance, and confronted Democratic conspiracy theories that he and Secretary of State Katherine Harris rigged the election. The USA Civil Rights Fee would accuse Bush and Harris of gross dereliction of responsibility, operating an electoral device tainted by means of “injustice, ineptitude and inefficiency” that resulted in 1000’s of black citizens being disenfranchised.

Scott has been accused of systematically suppressing black votes during the state clemency procedure.

Armies of legal professionals

A minimum of the legal professionals for each Gore and Bush waited till the primary unofficial set of effects had been filed ahead of losing complaints — after Gore requested for a recount in 4 counties. Bush’s legal professionals attempted to prevent the recounts, Gore attempted to increase the closing dates.

Scott’s legal professionals did not even watch for the initial effects to be filed with the state by means of its midday Saturday cut-off date. Already seeing his lead eroding by means of part, Scott filed a lawsuit in Broward Circuit Court docket tough Elections Manager Brenda Snipes flip over information associated with the poll depend that she allegedly refused to offer.

The Democratic Nationwide Committee unleashed a brigade of legal professionals to problem the go well with and give protection to Nelson, whose legal professionals sued in federal courtroom Friday to increase the cut-off date for submitting election returns.

Matt Caldwell, the Republican candidate for Agriculture Commissioner, additionally filed a go well with towards Broward County Manager of Elections after his obvious win disappeared Friday when the tally flipped in prefer of Democrat Nikki Fried by means of over 3,000 votes.

“We’re more or less leaping the gun right here,” stated Daniel Smith, a political science professor at College of Florida.  “Let’s decelerate somewhat and in fact depend all of the ballots which can be legitimate ahead of being concerned a few recount. I’m dumbfounded about how fast all sides are to sue.”

Former Congressman Ron DeSantis, who carried probably the most votes within the Governor’s race and had already appointed his transition crew, stated he was once content material to let the legal professionals do their task.

Likewise, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who gave the impression extra energized as the space between him and DeSantis closed during the week, took to video to mention, “We’re hopeful that each and every unmarried vote might be counted on this race.” 

Similar: As Invoice Nelson fights for political existence with recount, Andrew Gillum is also taking a look to long term

Social media

The protests outdoor the Florida Ultimate Court docket construction had been a typical characteristic for the month of apparently unending litigation Tallahasseeans persevered within the 12 months 2000. Each day for over a month they confirmed up bearing indicators that referred to as Gore and his felony crew “Liars, Cheaters and Thieves” or accused Bush of hiring thugs to prevent the hand depend.

One protester bore an indication that learn, “All I would like for Christmas is my vote to be counted.”

The legal professionals, media and protesters had been a part of a circus that disrupted day by day existence in Tallahassee or even interfered with the once a year post-Thanksgiving soccer fit between Florida State and the College of Florida.

There was once even a faction of Younger Republican Yuppies who stormed elections places of work in South Florida looking to disrupt the recount, dubbed the Brooks Brothers Riots.

The similar kind of obstructive habits looked as if it would spread outdoor the Lauderhill elections place of business in Broward County Friday.

The hyperbolic and hyper-partisan rhetoric and unfounded accusations of election fraud from President Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio and Congressman Matt Gaetz is helping fan the flames of the passions of Scott’s supporters.

About 100 protesters waved Trump indicators, shouting, “Lock her up” and “Sneaky Snipes” whilst Gillum supporters shouted, “Rely each and every vote.”

Issues were given so dangerous the elections place of business needed to name the police to handle order. 

“Now with those recounts, upload social media and cellphones and mix it with the partisan nature of politics,” Tallahassee legal professional Ryan Andrews stated. “It magnifies the problems happening in Broward at the moment.”

Social media has a tendency to boost up and enlarge what are remoted incidents, College of Central Florida political science professor Susan MacManus stated. 

“Once a device does not paintings 100 p.c anyone is posting it on-line and pronouncing, ‘This is Florida screwing up far and wide once more’,” MacManus stated. “It is simple to mention all hell breaking unfastened as a result of one device is down.”

Uniform requirements

Till the 2000 elections there was once no consistency from county to county, MacManus stated. 

“There was once additionally no standardization for what caused a recount,” she stated. “We mounted that within the statutes, and now it’s common. There have been no timetables, no regulations. It was once only a mess.”

Supervisors additionally had no requirements for deciphering an overvote or what a voter supposed, she stated.

Thirty-six counties rejected 1000’s of ballots that had bubbled or checked a candidate’s title then wrote the title within the write-in line.

“Thirty-one counties as it should be counted the vote as one vote however the different 36 counties threw out the ballots,” Sancho stated.

Ballots that can not be scanned for one explanation why or every other will have to be duplicated by means of personnel, showed by means of the canvassing board and scanned into the device, Sancho stated. “If the present rule was once carried out then, as it should be, Gore would have received the election, no longer Bush.”

Glosary: Phrases you wish to have to understand as Florida strikes into contentious recounts in numerous races

Eliminating the punch card and digital machines helped towards standardization. After 2000 the state followed optical scanning regulations with pointers for overvotes and gave elections supervisors $30 million to shop for new apparatus.

In the beginning they might purchase both optical scanners or contact display screen machines, she stated. However in 2006, over 18,000 digital votes in a hotly contested congressional race between Christine Jennings and Vern Buchanan weren’t recorded.

On account of that the Legislature modified the regulation in 2007 to toss out all of the contact displays. Now all state supervisors use simplest optical scanners with paper,.

“You’ll’t lose votes so long as you don’t break ballots,” MacManus stated. 

Early vote casting, mail-in ballots

The state additionally did not have walk-in early vote casting and vote by means of mail. “You wanted a explanation why you sought after an absentee poll,” MacManus stated.

There have been no provisional ballots till the Legislature modified that, she stated. The Legislature additionally modified the cut-off date for army and in another country ballots

All the ones adjustments had been designed to give protection to other people’s ballots from being discarded, however additionally they take time to procedure and depend, she stated.

“Other folks do not perceive why you’ll’t have the entirety by means of election evening,” she stated. “The typical user has no clue why it takes see you later.”

With the explosion of in-person early vote casting and vote casting my mail, greater than 50 p.c of the vote is available in ahead of Election Day, he stated. Over 5.Three million votes had been solid ahead of the election, which noticed a complete of 8.2 million votes solid. That implies simplest 2.Nine million votes had been solid on election day.

Recount Timeline: Election time beyond regulation: Vital dates for Florida’s resolution on who’s governor, Senator and Ag Commissioner

It’s a sea alternate,” Sancho stated. “Supervisors have thousands and thousands of mail ballots to take care of, and 100 thousand mistakes. Florida regulation says each and every vote will have to be counted.”

Ballots that can not be scanned will have to be utterly duplicated and fed into the scanner. 

“It’s hard, and I do not know all counties can do that” by means of closing dates set by means of statute, Sancho stated.

Those so-called mysterious ballots Scott talks about are ballots that want to be remade, Sancho stated. “That remark by means of Scott is so frightening as it signifies he does not understand how the electoral procedure works.”

In spite of everything, Sancho stated, he wish to see politicians put aside their partisanship to be sure that each and every legitimate vote is counted without reference to who it is for.

“When are we going to get to the purpose that felony American citizens must have their vote counted?”

Touch Schweers at [email protected] Observe him on Twitter @jeffschweers.


Andrew Gillum delivers his concession speech after shedding a detailed race to governor-elect Ron DeSantis.
Tallahassee Democrat


Learn or Proportion this tale: https://www.tallahassee.com/tale/information/politics/elections/2018/11/10/shades-2000-recounts-recurring-nightmare-florida-politics/1918896002/

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