They said it would be done in time. They said it was going to get done. It was a herculean effort—and they failed. Broward County, Florida—a Democratic bastion—has been a problem child in the ballot counting process of the state’s elections. Palm Beach County, another liberal stronghold, isn’t much better.
The county was taking its sweet time counting the ballots. Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who had declared victory over incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, sued them for their lack of transparency in the process. A judge later found that both counties' operations violated public records laws; they weren’t giving regular updates on ballots that were outstanding.
With Scott leading with less than half of one percent, a mandatory machine recount was executed. Broward waited until Tuesday to start counting ballots. They supposedly finished on time today; Palm Beach failed to reach the deadline. Yet, now, we’re hearing they were two minutes late. All that work was done for nothing, as the recount tabulations were not accepted; the original unofficial results were used. In the gubernatorial race, Democrat Andrew Gillum only gained a vote on Republican Ron DeSantis, who still leads by a little over 33,600 votes. That election is over, but Gillum has refused to concede (via Sun Sentinel):
Amid a dizzying whir of legal action, questions over uncounted ballots and the failure of two South Florida counties to meet the deadline, a machine recount produced little change in the overall results to three statewide races Thursday.
In the governor’s race, the recount showed that Democrat Andrew Gillum trailed Republican Ron DeSantis by 33,683 votes, a net gain of 1 vote for Gillum from the unofficial results reported last week. The margin was 0.41 percent out of more than 8 million votes cast, outside the 0.25 percent threshold needed for a manual recount.
Although the lead appears insurmountable, Gillum would not concede and called for counting to continue. He stopped short, however, of filing a lawsuit to demand that.
The machine recount in the Senate contest between Nelson and GOP Gov. Rick Scott saw Scott’s lead grow by 41 votes, to 12,603 overall. That’s a margin of 0.15 percent, enough for a manual recount.
Scott urged Nelson to forgo the hand recount and concede the race.
U.S. District Court Judge Mark Walker chided the state and Palm Beach County election officials for not anticipating issues with the election.
“We have been the laughingstock of the world, election after election, and we chose not to fix this," Walker said in court.
In Palm Beach, the county’s Election Office was unable to complete a recount because of malfunctioning vote-counting machines. The county had to revert to its initial, pre-recount numbers as part of the new statewide results.
“It was a heroic effort and we just completed uploading our Saturday results, as was required by law,” elections chief Susan Bucher announced on Thursday as the 3 p.m. deadline passed.
Broward County election officials missed the deadline by two minutes, so state officials used their unofficial totals reported last week.
HOLD UP. Broward just said they were actually 2 minutes late so their first total will count, *not* the recount. Also the discrepancy of 2,040 votes was due to a "comingling of ballots," said Joseph D'Alessandro https://t.co/F9AT93lJsC— Alex Harris (@harrisalexc) November 15, 2018
“Basically I just worked my ass off for nothing," D'Alessandro said. He said the results didn't upload in time because he was unfamiliar with the website.— Alex Harris (@harrisalexc) November 15, 2018
It came down to the wire for Broward, but they made it. "We are excited to be at this point," said Brenda Snipes. https://t.co/KrsTrPuzkU— Alex Harris (@harrisalexc) November 15, 2018
The Senate race now goes to a hand recount—and Broward continues to be a textbook case of incompetence in American elections.