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Florida’s Votes Go Unclaimed, but This Time Less Depends on Them
The denouement, though, was fitting in an election season that lurched from flash fire to flash fire, beginning with a 2011 move by the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature to reduce the number of early voting days and place 11 complex proposed amendments on the ballot.
To complicate matters further, several counties in Florida agreed early this week to allow voters to request and complete absentee ballots in person at an elections office after a lawsuit by Democrats was filed in federal court asking for more early voting days.
With the two candidates running neck and neck in this swing state, masses of voters turned out to cast their ballots. All of which led to time-crushing lines on Election Day, despite attempts to get people to vote absentee.
“Voters were determined to have their voices heard in this state,” said Susan MacManus, a University of South Florida political science professor.
On Tuesday, lines stretched and swirled around the more urban parts of the state, particularly in pockets of Miami-Dade County, where people waited as long as six hours. Even after President Obama was declared the victor, a few voters stayed put so they could vote.
The torturous waits prompted Carlos A. Giménez, the county’s mayor, to apologize to voters.
“Were there problems in certain precincts?” Mr. Giménez said. “Without a doubt, and so we’re going to do an after-action report on every single precinct, what went right, what went wrong."
Not everyone wanted to vote on Tuesday. Some had tried to cast ballots last week, during early voting, but fled after seeing lines that sometimes wrapped around buildings. Waits of three to five hours were not uncommon in Miami. Reports of broken ballot printers and scanners around the state added to the problem.
The slow pace of the lines, and Wednesday’s continuing count of absentee votes, was worsened by the exceptionally long ballots, the longest in Florida history, which were weighed down by 11 proposed constitutional amendments.
After the widespread balloting problems in 2000, Florida lawmakers made a commitment to fixing the election process. They set aside partisan differences and put changes in effect that were widely praised, analysts said.
But last year, Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, and the Florida Legislature pushed through a broad overhaul of election laws to curb fraud. Viewed by Democrats as a mostly partisan maneuver to hamper Democratic turnout, the changes spurred a series of lawsuits that chipped away at the law. The law’s chief legacy was the reduction in early voting days, from 14 to 8, including the final Sunday before Election Day, which is when a disproportionate number of black Floridians cast ballots. With fewer early voting days, analysts say, the lines on Election Day bulged in some places, particularly in more Democratic precincts.
Florida is a failed state.
Ah, the world's best democracy at work.
If only there were ways to avoid all those lineups......
They have had 12 years to fix the screwups that happened in 2000, the state seems to be actively promoting voter suppression and they have a precedent in that part of that state is already under federal jurisdiction (since the 70s) because they can't be trusted to hold fair elections.
Perhaps the combination of an open, active fraud campaign on the part of the GOP and state government, and the footage of people being denied their right to vote might tip it over the edge and they'll take the entire state's electoral system under federal control.
Obama's election night comment about having to "fix that" would seem to indicate that enough is enough.
The same conditions must also apply to state level elections as well, because the Repubs always seem to be in a position to put a fix on things.
The best solution would be to take the states completely out of federal elections.
The second best thing is to rout the states of corrupt politicians.
This is a just another vicious assault on the less fortunate people in society
What's the Matter With Florida?
I am not in Florida, and will gladly hear from people there. But it's very hard to believe that the decision to lengthen the ballot, to cut the number of early-voting days, and to refuse to extend early-voting hours -- all made by Republicans -- was done to improve the voter experience.
Hey, Obama, let’s actually fix elections
We may be stuck with the electoral college, but a few simple reforms would drastically improve American democracy
If Obama wanted to, he could likely do quite a bit to fix elections even without going through Congress. But there could be means of accomplishing the most important reforms even with a Republican House. A reform bill could, theoretically, be sold as a sort of broad bipartisan reform effort, done in the name of cracking down on fraud. Universal registration actually eliminates many opportunities for fraud. (And clerical error.) Stricter national standards and impartial control of polling places and election officials could also be sold as a means of cracking down on urban “machine” political control. (Here’s apostate conservative/Mitt Romney voter David Frum on the subject!) Obviously there won’t be broad Republican support for measures to make it easier for people to vote, but there might be enough to pass an actually useful bill. Hell, pick up some Republican votes by adding an explicit “NO MURALS OF OBAMA IN POLLING PLACES EVER” clause. Do whatever gross politicking you have to to make voting easier and registration universal.
Then once we fix elections we can work on fixing all of our undemocratic institutions. It would be great to see politicians throw their support behind all or even some of the Center for Voting and Democracy’s Fair Vote reform suggestions.
The president should obviously be elected by national popular vote, and it’s outrageous that Wyoming has two senators and D.C. has none, but short of junking the Constitution, we’re stuck with those sad realities for the time being. It’s bizarre that there’s not more outrage over the fact that the House will be majority Republican (likely until 2022) despite more votes being cast for Democrats, but unlike the existence of the U.S. Senate, this can be fixed without altering or amending our nation’s archaic founding document. While I’d obviously most prefer a larger House with proportional representation and instant-runoff or ranked voting (and, sure, multiple member districts — let’s dream big!), we should at the very least stop allowing district drawing to be a partisan-controlled affair. (And, again, an anti-gerrymandering crusade could be sold as bipartisan — fighting back against the extremists in both parties!)
If the president made these very important reforms one of his major domestic second-term priorities, and he managed to get almost any of them done, it’d fundamentally change the country for the better. It’s the sort of legacy stuff second-term presidents dream of. All we need is to get to work before everyone forgets how awful voting was this year and moves on to something else.
Voter suppression backfires
Letting blacks know you don't want them to vote is a poor idea.
The Democrats need to be moving now on forming all state governments!!!
Why John Boehner Has Gerrymandering to Thank for His Majority
Anger grows as Florida election officials continue to count votes
Miami-Dade's election supervisor says 'sheer volume' to blame for long delay with state's winner still to be announced
Some of the fiercest criticism came from the League of Women Voters of Florida, who were already furious at Scott's refusal to keep polling stations open late last week, something they claim would have eased Tuesday's lengthy queues.
"There are many Third World countries that would never ask their citizens to stand in line for six to seven hours to cast their ballots," Deirdre Macnab, the group's president, told the Herald.
Joining the assault was Al Gore, the losing Democratic candidate in the flawed 2000 election in Florida in which his rival George W Bush was leading the state by just 537 votes when the US supreme court stepped in after five weeks to halt all recounts and award him the White House.
Speaking on the Current TV cable network channel he co-founded, Gore accused Republicans of deliberately causing delays at the polls to manipulate the vote.
"At some point after this election, I hope there will be a reckoning for these governors and state legislatures that have intentionally tried to prevent people from voting," he said.
"It is a strategy that is a direct descendent of the racist Jim Crow tactics that were used in the wake of the civil war to prevent black people from voting. It is more sophisticated now. It is dressed up in different kinds of language, but it is un-American, it is wrong, it is a disgrace to this country and there ought to be a bipartisan movement to say enough of this."
... or maybe not all that more sophisticated.
Can't the feds at least charge Scott with voter suppression? Is the only backbone in the USA on the extreme right?
Who cares- it is just a sham!
Florida to finally finish counting ballots today
Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Gov Scott are an embarassment to mankind and both need to resign.
Think the Florida Recount Was Bad? Just Wait Until November 6
You think the hanging chads in Florida were bad in 2000? You think the patch of procedures, appeals, and standards of review was crazy? At least a human being was looking at those ballots. At least some of the rest of us were able to look at that human being looking at those ballots. At least there were ballots to be seen. In 2012, on the other hand, loose technology, lax industry oversight, political indifference, and partisan bigotry mean there is the potential for mischief -- and by that I mean democracy-crushing voter fraud -- on a scale that would make the high drama and low comedy of November 2000 seem mundane.
How about thousands upon thousands of votes instantly disappearing from the electronic count of one candidate, or being added to the count of another, with no paper trail left behind? How about electronic voting machines whose programs can be breached and hacked -- patched for fraud, is the new term -- from thousands of miles away? How about new voting technology controlled largely by corporations with strong partisan ties? Not only can it all happen in two weeks, there is a viable case to be made that it's already happened -- in both the decade before and the decade since Bush v. Gore.
And of course the great irony of it all, one of the most under-reported stories of this campaign, is that the politicians and activists who have tried so hard this election cycle to make it harder for poor, ill, and elderly voters to vote are some of the ones most closely aligned with the operatives who can, with a click, determine the outcome of the coming election. Instead of securing accurate voting rights for all, they want to deprive voting rights for some. This is the important message Victoria Collier sends us courtesy of a trenchant piece (not currently online) in the November issue of Harper's *, titled "How To Rig An Election." Collier writes:
Old-school ballot-box fraud at its most egregious was localized and limited in scope. But new electronic voting systems allow insiders to rig elections on a statewide or even national scale. And whereas once you could catch the guilty parties in the act, and even dredge the ballot boxes out of bayou, the virtual vote count can be manipulated in total secrecy. By means of proprietary, corporate-owned software, just one programming could steal hundreds, thousands, potentially even millions of votes with the stroke of a key
Good - another Republican shows his mettle! Reminds me of Romney on election nite.
Florida vote beyond recount range; Allen West won’t concede
Romney crushed in electoral college vote count!.
Supreme Court Appears Ready to Nuke the Voting Rights Act