News Column

Fla. Election Results Still Hanging, Again

Nov. 8, 2012
voting booths

Election results in Florida still aren't certified, prompting some residents to express discomfiture that their state was making Election Day headlines, again.

America woke up Wednesday with the news that President Obama was re-elected, Republicans retained control of the U.S. House, Democrats still held sway in the U.S. Senate and Florida's balloting was too close to call because of long lines on Election Day -- some precincts reported the last voters cast ballots after Republican Mitt Romney conceded -- and tens of thousands of absentee ballots uncounted.

But this time, unlike the 2000 tilt between Republican George W. Bush and then-Vice President Al Gore, the 2012 election doesn't rest on the allocation of Florida's 29 electoral votes.

"We're such an embarrassment," Tya Eachus of Miami, who waited in line for three hours Tuesday, told the Los Angeles Times. "It's always a fiasco with us."

With 8.3 million Florida votes in, Obama held a 46,000-vote lead over Romney. Election workers were counting thousands of absentee ballots, and race trackers, mindful of the 2000 confusion, refrained from calling Florida all the votes were in. Even early Thursday.

Results are due by noon Saturday, Chris Cate, a spokesman for the state elections department, said.

An elections supervisor said Miami-Dade vote totals wouldn't be tallied until Thursday, The Miami Herald said.

The troubles at some polling places put an exclamation point to a long and uneasy election cycle for the Sunshine State that saw fights over a proposed voter purge by Republican Gov. Rick Scott and a highly contested law pushed through by Republicans lawmakers that whacked early voting hours.

John Camp, an attorney with a non-profit coalition called Election Protection, told the Times most of the Miami-Dade County workers really tried to keep long lines moving. Still, he said, there were problems.

"I agree, it does seem like we don't ever seem to get it right," Camp said, "even though we keep trying."

In a radio interview with WLRN-FM, Miami, Republican U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said, "This election was a disaster."

Miami attorney Kendall Coffey told the Herald Scott could have eased the situation by taking the lead of former Gov. Charlie Crist's and adding extra early voting days.

Scott, during a news conference Wednesday, said his administration needed to review how it managed its election process while being fiscally prudent.

"Whenever you finish a project, in this case an election," he said, "[officials must] go back and look. What went right? What can we improve?"

Source: Copyright United Press International 2012

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