The Florida Vote Count: 2000 All Over Again

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I suspect we all remember our station in life in 2000 when the Florida votes were being recounted. Remember the name Katherine Harris? Hanging chads? Or this guy:

 

 

 

 

In my house, our eldest son was five years old.

Every day, he’d come home from his Montessori school to see me watching the CNN coverage of the recount.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He’d say, “Dad, are they still counting the votes in Florida?”

And I’d say “Yeah. No winner yet”.

I was afraid he’d grow up thinking this is the way it always is. Americans vote, and then the process goes on for weeks and ends in with a decision in the Supreme Court.

Well, it’s 18 years later.

Time flies. Our son is now getting a Master’s degree at Oxford.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But in Florida, they are still having trouble counting votes.

It’s a national disgrace.

Don’t get me wrong – I think Rick Scott was out of line attributing the problems to “unethical liberals,” and he should not have spoken of “left-wing activists coming up with more and more ballots out of nowhere” – a claim the Miami Herald editorial board said was an “evidence-free allegation”.

 

It’s not a partisan issue.  We should all be demanding fair and accurate elections. But Scott's consternation is understandable.

 

Just look at this margin in the Senate race: Less than one percent!

 

Early voting ending in Broward County last Sunday.

Through last night, Broward was the only one of Florida's 67 counties that had not reported to the state that it was completed with its tabulation.

 

That could be entirely attributable to human factors, not partisan chicanery.

But he’s right to be worried.

 

In Broward County, 695,799 people turned in ballots, but only 665,688 voted in the Senate race. If those results hold, it means more voted in the race for Agriculture Commissioner than the US Senate.

 

That undervote requires examination.

 

Here’s something on which we should all be able to agree.

 

We need to professionalize the process. And it’s not just Florida.

 

It’s outrageous that in Georgia, Brian Kemp – the Secretary of State and the person charged with election oversight – did not recuse himself from all responsibility for the governors’ race, while he himself was a candidate.

And no one in America should ever have to stand in line for hours to cast a ballot.

That’s absolutely third world-ish.

Of course, no one who voted by mail-in ballot in Oregon, Colorado or Washington had to stand in any line – nor are there are significant problems counting those states’ ballots.

No matter the outcome, the real harm with the status quo in Florida is that it undermines confidence in our system. It gives rise to conspiracy theory and might discourage participation from people who think their vote doesn’t count, which is the complete opposite of the correct conclusion.