Something Fishy in Florida

2000 Presidential election recount in Palm Beach County. (photo: Dtobias)

Nothing to see here, move along folks.

Democrat Andrew Gillum conceded the race for Florida governor on Election Day 2018 because, as of late that Tuesday night, Republican Ron DeSantis was projected to win by a margin of 57,000 votes.

What Happened?

Of the 67 counties in Florida, one of which was hit by a major hurricane only a month ago, two counties mysteriously still aren’t able to say how many people actually voted in them as of Election Day.

Broward County

As of Tuesday, November 6, 2018, Broward County reported that 634,000 votes were cast. But in the early hours of Thursday, that number was revised to 695,700 votes cast as of Election Day. By early afternoon Thursday, that number was changed again to reflect a total of 707,223 ballots cast by voters as of Election Day. Thursday evening, Broward County was reporting that 712, 840 ballots were cast as of Election Day.

“Elections Should Not Be Decided By Who Hires The Best Lawyers” — Florida Sen. Mark Rubio

Broward County Blues

If Broward County rings a bell, it may be because the county has a long history of questionable results on election day.

  • 2014: Accusations of major breakdowns that made it difficult for voters to cast their ballots.
  • 2012: Broward County office criticized for balky scanners, absentee ballots that never arrived, slow election-day results and ballots that showed up after Election Day

Broward History Repeats Itself

The 2000 presidential election was one of the closest and most contentious races of all time. (At least, until now.) Right after the polls closed on election night, media outlets called Florida for Democrat Al Gore. Several hours later, they retracted, declaring the race was too close to call. Almost an hour after midnight, the networks reversed themselves completely; Republican George W. Bush had won in Florida.

What Next?

Races this close in Florida trigger an automatic machine recount. The recount deadline is Thursday. As of Sunday night, here is how the recount is sizing up for each disputed seat:

  • Florida Governor’s Race: Republican Ron DeSantis leads Democrat Andrew Gillum by 33,684 votes. DeSantis- 49.59% of the vote: Gillum 49.18% of the vote.
  • Florida Agriculture Commissioner: Republican Matt Caldwell trails Democrat Nikki Fried by 5,326 votes. Fried 50.03% of the vote: Caldwell 49.97% of the vote.

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