Florida! Florida! Florida! It’s Deja Vu All Over Again.

Somewhere, Tim Russert is smiling.

When we woke up Wednesday morning, it appeared as though the outcome of the two high-profile races in Florida was going to end up being certain. In the Governor’s race, Republican Ron DeSantis appeared to have pulled off a win over Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, and Gillum had even conceded the race to DeSantis by early Wednesday morning. On the Senate side, the race between outgoing Governor Rick Scott and incumbent Senator Bill Nelson was, and remains, uncalled, but Scott had a lead of roughly 40,000 votes that, even with a recount, seemed unshakable at the time. This, however, is Florida, and as sure as Florida Man is likely to do something insane this weekend, we’ve got what appears to be the beginnings of what could be not one, but two, voting controversies that could leave the outcome of both races up the air for weeks to come.

As things stand, the latest results show a gap of 15,204 votes in the Senate race with Governor Scott leading with 4,094,797 votes (50.09%) and Senator Nelson is at 4,079,593 votes (49.91%). In the Governor’s race, Congressman DeSantis is in the lead 4,072,796 (49.61%) and Mayor Gillum is just 36,211 votes behind at 4,036,585 (49.17%) votes. One oddity this brings up almost immediately is the fact that there were 8,209,775 votes cast in the Governor’s race and 8,174,460 votes cast in the Senate race (this includes both votes cast for the main party candidates and votes cast for third-party candidates), a gap of more than 35,000 votes. While it is not unusual for the total number of votes cast in each race to vary since voters sometimes choose to cast a vote in one race but not another, a gap this large is somewhat atypical. In any case, under Florida law, a gap of 0.5% between the top two candidates would trigger an automatic machine recount in which each voting machine is double checked and the results re-tabulated. A difference of 0.25%, on the other hand, would trigger an automatic hand recount. The difference in the Senate race is, at the moment 0.18%, meaning it would qualify for both an automatic machine recount and an automatic hand recount. The difference in the Governor’s race is 0.44%, which would trigger an automatic machine recount that could turn into a hand recount if the gap between DeSantis and Gillum narrows sufficiently.

All of this is leading, understandably, to a sense of deja vu:

Two of the highest profile races in the country — both in Florida — are likely headed to a recount soon.

Sen. Bill Nelson’s re-election bid is likely headed to a hand recount given that the incumbent Democrat now trails Florida Gov. Rick Scott by 17,000 votes, within the .25% margin required for a hand recount. Nelson’s campaign aides believe he will emerge victorious once all the ballots are counted.

And on the governor’s side, Democrat Andrew Gillum — after conceding the race on Tuesday evening — has grown more supportive of a recount of late, in part because his deficit to Republican Ron DeSantis is down to 38,000 votes, within the .5% needed for a machine recount. Campaign aides, though, remain clear eyed about the the long odds that Gillum can make up that deficit.

Recounts, which have not officially been authorized in either race, put the outcome of two of the most closely watched races of 2018 on hold, with Democrats hoping for a miracle that could get both Gillum, a candidate who garnered considerable attention in his campaign against DeSantis, and Nelson, an incumbent who Democrats had thought would win his seat going into Tuesday night, over the finish line with a win.

“On Tuesday night, the Gillum for Governor campaign operated with the best information available about the number of outstanding ballots left to count. Since that time, it has become clear there are many more uncounted ballots than was originally reported,” Gillum’s communications director Johanna Cervone said in a statement. “Mayor Gillum started his campaign for the people, and we are committed to ensuring every single vote in Florida is counted.”

At no point in the statement, though, did Gillum’s campaign withdraw the concession and sources close to the mayor highlight that his outlook hasn’t changed since his Tuesday night speech. It it is important to Gillum, these sources said, that his supporters know they are fighting for every vote.

“We want every vote counted, we believe that there are still votes out there for Mayor Gillum and we want to make sure his supporters know we are fighting for every vote,” one source said.

Gillum and DeSantis have not talked since election night, the source added. Gillum told supporters on Tuesday that he talked to DeSantis and “congratulated him on what we expect will be him as the next governor of the great state of Florida.”

Florida coming down to a recount gives political watchers déjà vu, given the impact the state’s recount played on the 2000 presidential election that saw President George W. Bush elected after winning Florida by 537 votes.

And the recounts now have echoes of 2000: Gillum’s campaign has hired Barry Richard to represent them during the recount. Richard had previously been known for representing Bush during the 2000 recount.

Nelson’s campaign has hired Marc Elias, a Democratic lawyer who regularly works issues of voter’s rights and election protection.

Elias told reporters on Thursday that he believes Nelson could come out victorious if there is a full recount. The senator needs to be within .25% to trigger a hand recount of ballots marked as undervotes (voters who did not fill out all available choices on the ballot) or overvotes (voters who made more choices than allotted on the ballot). The hand recount would only occur if there are enough overvotes, undervotes and provisional ballots left to change the outcome.

While he was down 57,000 ballots on election night, that total has ticked down to 17,000 votes on Thursday.

“It’s a jump ball,” Elias said. “But I firmly believe that at the end of this process, Nelson will prevail.”

He added: “We’re doing this not just because it’s automatic, but we’re doing it to win. A significant number of ballots have not yet been counted and, because of the size of Florida, we believe the results of the election are unknown and require a recount.”

The Washington Post has more:

Nearly two decades after hanging chads transfixed the nation, Florida is once again headed toward a high-stakes election recount, as vote margins narrowed in Democrats’ favor Thursday in the state’s marquee U.S. Senate and governor’s races.

Hundreds of party and interest-group volunteers spent the day trying to track down people who had cast provisional ballots, seeking affidavits to prove their votes should be counted. And in an echo of the 2000 presidential election, state Republicans tried to preempt the coming fight by accusing Democratic lawyers of heading to Broward County to “steal” the election.

In the Senate race, Gov. Rick Scott (R) had a lead of just more than 15,000 votes, or 0.18 percent, over Sen. Bill Nelson (D) as of Thursday night. In the governor’s race, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) trailed former congressman Ron DeSantis (R) by more than 36,000 votes, or 0.44 percent.

Under Florida law, a statewide machine recount is conducted when the margin of victory is less than 0.5 percent, and a manual recount is ordered if the margin is less than 0.25 percent.

The likely recounts, however, are expected to be more orderly than the televised circus that resulted in George W. Bush’s election to the presidency. Under changes to state law, local canvass boards no longer have discretion over whether to order a recount, and new optical-scan voting machines have made it easier to divine voter intent than the old punch card ballots, which sometimes featured the partially detached bits of paper.


The campaigns for Nelson and Gillum in Florida have become more optimistic in recent days as newly counted votes in Broward County increased their totals. They have told the state they plan to aggressively monitor any recounts.

“We believe at the end of the day, Senator Nelson is going to be declared the winner and is going to return to the United States Senate,” Marc Elias, an election lawyer representing the Nelson campaign, said in a conference call Thursday morning. “I think it’s fair to say right now the results of the 2018 Senate election are unknown.”

Scott responded hours later by accusing the election supervisors of Broward and Palm Beach counties of possibly committing fraud, though he did not provide evidence beyond his dwindling vote margin and alleged procedural errors.

“Every Floridian should be concerned there may be rampant fraud happening in Palm Beach and Broward counties,” Scott said as he announced legal action and called on state law enforcement to investigate. “I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try to steal this election from the people of Florida.”

Nelson campaign spokesperson Dan McLaughlin responded after Scott spoke. “The goal here is to see that all the votes in Florida are counted and counted accurately,” he wrote in a statement. “Rick Scott’s action appears to be politically motivated and borne out of desperation.”

Earlier, the state’s other senator, Republican Marco Rubio, also accused Nelson’s team of trying to “steal” the election.

“Now democrat lawyers are descending on #Florida. They have been very clear they aren’t here to make sure every vote is counted,” Rubio added in one of a series of tweets. “They are here to change the results of election; & #Broward is where they plan to do it.”

As if to add to the sense of deja vu, the two counties at the center of the disputes this year are the same two that ended up being an issue in 2000:

Broward and Palm Beach counties in Florida are once again at the center of a brewing controversy over vote counting as two of the highest-profile races in the state appear to be headed toward a recount.

In a news conference on Thursday night, Florida Gov. Rick Scott — who is also the Republican candidate for US Senate in the state — alleged without providing evidence that there could be rampant fraud in both counties and accused Democrats of trying to “steal” the election.

Scott’s campaign and the National Republican Senatorial Committee filed two lawsuits on Thursday, one against the Broward County supervisor of elections, Brenda Snipes, and the other against the supervisor of elections in Palm Beach County, Susan Bucher. The lawsuits allege that the supervisors have not been transparent either about the collection of the vote or about the vote count, in violation of Florida law.

Snipes told CNN she was not aware of Scott’s announcement of a lawsuit and was not commenting.

In his news conference, Scott accused the election supervisors of “mysteriously” finding votes and called for a full “law enforcement” investigation, promising to take any legal action necessary.

“Tonight I am asking the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate this immediately, and I am considering every single legal option available,” Scott said.

“We’ve all seen the incompetence and irregularities in vote tabulations in Broward and Palm Beach for years. Well, here we go again,” Scott said. “I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try to steal this election from the great people of Florida.”

The campaign for Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, Scott’s opponent, said the governor’s actions appeared to be “politically motivated.”

“The goal here is to see that all the votes in Florida are counted and counted accurately,” said Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin. “Rick Scott’s action appears to be politically motivated and born out of desperation.”

The problems in Broward County will sound familiar to those who remember 2000:

A CNN analysis of votes cast in Broward County suggests that ballot design could be responsible for a substantial difference in the number of votes cast between the race for governor and the race for senator in Florida, meaning thousands of voters there may have missed their chance to weigh in on the still-undecided Senate race. The placement of the Senate race on the ballot could have made it possible to overlook.

Broward and Palm Beach counties became infamous for vote-counting problems during the 2000 presidential recount.

Fueling the controversy on Thursday, a teacher said she found a box marked “provisional ballots” in a storage area of the school long after the voting had taken place there Tuesday.

Lakeisha Sorey, a resource teacher at Sunshine Elementary School who has taught in Broward County schools for 16 years, said it looked like a plastic storage bin with a hole on the top with a printed label that said “provisional ballots” taped on the box. In a telephone interview with CNN on Thursday night, she said she took a picture but did not try to open or lift the box, because she did not want any questions.

“I did not touch it,” she said. “I knew that the elections were a federal thing, so I didn’t want any of those issues. I didn’t want there to be any interference.”

Dozel Spencer, the Broward County Elections Voter Equipment Center director, told CNN that this was equipment, not ballots. He said it takes several days to pick up equipment after Election Day.

As was the case in 2000, Broward is a Democratic Party stronghold that often gives Democratic candidates an edge that requires Republicans to perform well elsewhere in the state. In the Senate race, for example, Nelson picked up 69.1% of the votes in the county, while 30.9% backed Scott. In the Governor’s race, the margin was similar, with 68% voting for Gillum and 31.3% voting for DeSantis. More importantly, Broward appears to be at the center of much of the gap between the vote totals between the Senate and Gubernatorial races. In the Senate race, current totals show 680,568 votes were counted in the Senate race in Broward (Source) while 706,628 votes were cast in the Governor’s race. (Source) This is a difference of 26,060 votes between the two races. This means that Broward by itself accounts for 73.94% of the difference in the vote totals between the two states. As I said, it is not unusual for there to be a difference in vote totals between two races, but it is unusual for the gap to be as big as it is in the case of the Senate and Gubernatorial races, and it is even more unusual for one jurisdiction to account for so much of the difference.

One of the reasons for the differences between the two races in Broward could be the design of the ballot in that county. Based on photos that have circulated on social media, it appears that the races for Senate and the Congressional districts in the county appear in the lower left corner of the paper ballot, below lengthy instructions on how to vote. The Governor’s race is listed more prominently to the right side of the instructions. By way of contrast, in Miami-Date County, the Senate race appeared at the top of the ballot and ended up receiving more votes than the Governor’s race. In that county, though, the difference between the total votes cast in the two races was far smaller, with 799,140 votes cast for Governor (Source) and 800,992 votes cast in the Senate race (Source), a difference of just over 10,000 votes. That suggests those voters may not have seen the two races in the bottom left corner of the ballot. Across all precincts with both Senate and congressional races in the county, roughly 3% of people skipped voting in the Senate race even though they had voted for governor. This suggests that the ballot design in Broward may account for the discrepancy between the number of votes cast in the two most prominent races on the ballot.

All of this is leading to predictable comments from the campaigns. Rick Scott, for example, spent much of yesterday talking about so-called “rampant” voter fraud in Broward and other counties, although he did not cite any evidence in that regard. Additionally, the Governor has also filed a lawsuit demanding that his campaign be given access to the ballots that have allegedly helped to narrow the lead he had over Senator Nelson. Between this and the automatic recounts, we are likely to get in both the Senate and Gubernatorial races and it looks like Florida will be the focus of national attention once again. And we all know how long that lasted.


FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Campaign 2017, Congress, US Politics, , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Gillum and DeSantis have not talked since election night, the source added. Gillum told supporters on Tuesday that he talked to DeSantis and “congratulated him on what we expect will be him as the next governor of the great state of Florida.”

    Question: Would a great state elect a Ron DeSantis governor?

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    he did not cite any evidence in that regard.

    Here’s the evidence:

    U.S. Census Bureau 2010 Ethnic/Race Demographics:[26][27][28]

    *White (non-Hispanic) : 42.5% (8.7% Irish, 8.2% Italian, 7.9% German, 5.0% English, 3.2% Polish, 2.7% Russian, 1.9% French, 1.0% Scottish, 0.8% Dutch, 0.8% Scotch-Irish, 0.8% Hungarian, 0.6% Swedish, 0.6% French Canadian, 0.5% Greek)[26](63.1% when including White Hispanics)
    *Black (non-Hispanic) (26.7% when including Black Hispanics): 17.7%(12.8% West Indian/Afro-Caribbean American [5.7% Haitian, 5.3% Jamaican, 0.4% Trinidadian and Tobagonian, 0.4% Other or Unspecified West Indian, 0.3% Bahamian, 0.2% British West Indian, 0.1% Barbadian,] 0.8% Subsaharan African)[26][29]
    *Hispanic or Latino of any race: 26.9% (4.8% Cuban, 4.3% Puerto Rican, 3.8% Colombian, 1.7% Mexican, 1.6% Dominican, 1.4% Peruvian, 1.3% Venezuelan, 0.7% Ecuadoran, 0.7% Honduran, 0.6% Argentinean, 0.5% Nicaraguan, 0.5% Salvadoran)[28][30]
    *Asian: 3.2% (1.2% Indian, 0.6% Chinese, 0.5% Other Asian, 0.4% Filipino, 0.3% Vietnamese, 0.1% Japanese, 0.1% Korean)[27][28]
    *Two or more races: 2.9%
    *American Indian and Alaska Native: 0.3%
    Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0.1%
    Other Races: 3.7% (0.7% Arab)[26]

    Those people were allowed to vote.

  3. mattbernius says:

    Doug wrote:

    Based on photos that have circulated on social media, it appears that the races for Senate and the Congressional districts in the county appear in the lower left corner of the paper ballot, below lengthy instructions on how to vote.

    I’ve seen pictures of the ballot and it’s awful. From an interaction/UX design perspective, it’s easy to see how the race would be missed. And the design is completely against well documented ballot design standards.

    It’s a great example of why ballot design shouldn’t be left up to local elected governments.

  4. Pylon says:

    Rick Scott calling anyone unethical is pretty funny.

  5. KM says:

    Additionally, the Governor has also filed a lawsuit demanding that his campaign be given access to the ballots that have allegedly helped to narrow the lead he had over Senator Nelson.

    In other words, he’s suing because the projection had him winning and reality is turning out differently. Considering all the blatant attempts at election f^ckery this year, I’m less suspicious of “found” votes then resigned to the notion that somebody deliberately lost them. If they’re legal (and by all accounts, they are), count them and move on.

    I said it on election night and I’ll say it again: NEVER concede so early in the game when it’s all guesses and conjectures. The whole notion of “calling” an election relies on a bunch of assumptions that can come back and bite you in the ass if you’re wrong. A projection is nothing more than an educated guess.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Pylon: If chutzpah were a crime, Rick Scott would make the death penalty for it seem reasonable.

  7. Bill says:


    Would a great state elect a Ron DeSantis governor?

    As I have said to my wife since 2010. “Steal $100 from a store- Get 10 years in jail. Steal $1,000,000,000 from the Federal Govt- Get elected Governor of Florida”

  8. Kathy says:

    Allegations of fraud, like accusations of treason, are very serious and should never be used rhetorically, nor raised without being backed up by evidence.

    A concession is not an official result, just an admission of defeat given as a courtesy to the winner. It has no official standing, and does not affect the result. And in the end, the total vote count is the only thing that matters.

  9. Liberal Capitalist says:

    ” so-called “rampant” voter fraud ”

    Or, as we have come to know it: the go-to statement for a republican loosing (… when voter suppression tactics didn’t work as expected).

  10. Eric Florack says:

    Is anyone surprised that Democrats are suddenly “finding” boxes of mystery ballots in every close Senate race? And should I be suspicious not only of that timing but of the fact that the sudden finds never seem to benefit anything but the Democrats? How is it that these sudden finds are found in an area where Democrats have easy access to them?

    Logic would seem to suggest that if Republican administrators were responsible for this, those votes would have been destroyed. Yes, they are left in areas where Democrats can easily find them.

    And we aren’t supposed to be suspicious. Nothing to see here citizen, Move Along.

  11. Teve says:

    Dems should maybe try their own voter suppression: sabotaging scooter ramps, prohibiting oxygen tanks and walkers as fire hazards.

  12. Teve says:

    Politically savvy people know that the “Winston Churchill” quote isn’t true, who you favor as a young adult is who you tend to vote for even decades later. So imagine my grin when I read that in this midterm election, people under 30 voted for Dems by 35 points.

  13. Gustopher says:

    Additionally, the Governor has also filed a lawsuit demanding that his campaign be given access to the ballots that have allegedly helped to narrow the lead he had over Senator Nelson.

    Why should the governor have special access to the ballots? The Great State Of Florida has a Secretary Of State, who is presumably doing his or her job. If there is a recount, both campaigns will have observers.

    If he has evidence of fraud, he should present it. Beyond that, he’s just whining.

  14. mattbernius says:

    @Resistance Ron:

    Brenda Snipes illegally destroyed ballots in the Wasserman Schultz race. Why the F— is she still in charge of ANYTHING?!? She won’t even say how many ballots remain to be counted.

    This is something that I can say we 100% agree on.

    Which again, gets to the problem of having elections controlled by political actors, at the county level — regardless of which party is involved.

    Full stop.

  15. mattbernius says:

    In your lifetime, have you EVER seen a close race with newly-discovered (!) ballots break for the republican?

    Nope, that never happens (the second link actually features two examples). Those were the first two Google results of many.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Eric Florack: @Resistance Ron: Urban areas tend to be Democratic. Rural areas tend to be Republican. Urban areas have more people than rural areas. More people means more voters. More voters means more ballots. More ballots means it takes longer to count them. Hence, late vote tallies tend to break for DEMs.

    This moment of common sense is brought to you by Reality.

  17. Kathy says:

    The reaction to elections lately by Republicans reminds me of Manuel Andres Lopez Obrador, before he finally won, when he dominated the PRD. Any victory of his party was 100% pure and legitimate. any victory by any other party was naturally fraudulent and stolen.

    By this logic, the natural result ought to have been about 400 GOP wins in the House and 98 in the Senate, plus all fifty states.

    I’ll repeat, fraud is a very serious allegation, and shouldn’t be made without evidence. Anomalies are not evidence of fraud. Odd patterns someone notices are not evidence of fraud either.

    You look at the polls before the election, and the results. if there’s a big mismatch, that means something odd happened and it’s worth taking a look. Say candidate A led candidate B by 10 points, and the result is B wins by 10 points. You also count the total number of ballots and compare that to the total of registered voters in an area. The first number should not exceed the latter.

  18. Franklin says:

    @Resistance Ron:

    I wonder why they were so opposed to Trump’s proposal to investigate vote fraud…

    Yeah, I wonder. Since they found absolutely nothing and wasted a ton of money trying to. Of course most of us predicted this, unlike you conspiracy boneheads.

  19. Paine says:

    I don’t want to hear any Democrat anywhere concede any race until there is absolute certainty that it’s all over. This habit of being a good sport while the votes are still being counted has to stop.

    As for the ballot design, who are these idiots who designed them? It’s reasonable to assume the governor race would lead the ballot and that all other races come after. Sticking the senate race in the corner by itself doesn’t make a lick of sense and it’s not at all surprising that there are a lot of undervotes there.

    Here in eastern Washington, our county commission clerk sent out inaccurate ballots last year. We need better quality people running these things.

  20. Kylopod says:

    @Resistance Ron:

    I wonder why they were so opposed to Trump’s proposal to investigate vote fraud…

    Ah, yes, that conspiracy of illegals in California to give Hillary Clinton an electorally irrelevant 3 million extra votes and steal the national popular vote….

  21. mattbernius says:

    This article from May is a super important read:

    @Resistance Ron you might be as surprised as I was to read that Governor Rick Scott’s office was overseeing Broward county for this election:

    Gov. Rick Scott’s administration — which has expressed concerns with how Broward County Election Supervisor Brenda Snipes has handled the case — told POLITICO that he’s reviewing the judge’s order and will have her office monitored.

    “During the upcoming election, the Department of State will send a Florida elections expert from the Division of Elections to Supervisor Snipes’ office to ensure that all laws are followed so the citizens of Broward County can have the efficient, properly run election they deserve,” Scott’s office said in a written statement.

    In fact, if it’s correct, this lawyer’s interpretation of Florida election law (this is also in the article) is particularly important:

    “There are provisions in the law that: A) allow for criminal penalties for doing something like this and B) allow Gov. Rick Scott to suspend a records custodian for this.”

    If that’s correct, then the answer to your questions

    Why the F— is she [Brenda Snipes] still in charge of ANYTHING?!?

    Is Rick Scott decided to let her still be in charge… In fact, this all happened with someone from his office apparently overseeing it directly.

    Ironic… huh…

  22. Teve says:


    @Resistance Ron:

    I wonder why they were so opposed to Trump’s proposal to investigate vote fraud…

    Yet trump appointed a commission to study it nationwide, headed by a Mr. Kobach. Surely they found lots of that fraud, right? For some reason I can’t recall the massive prosecutions that must’ve resulted.

  23. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, largely Democrat areas, usually takes more time to tabulate votes, so, it’s natural to see large numbers of Democratic votes in a close election being discovered there.

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @mattbernius: Nah, not ironic. Inconvenient is more like it.

  25. Kathy says:


    For some reason I can’t recall the massive prosecutions that must’ve resulted.

    They were overshadowed by the Bowling Green Massacre.

  26. Teve says:

    I live in a super-low-IQ part of north florida (because I do high-value emergency repair work in Jax, Tallahassee, and Gainesville, and this place is geographically just about the center of those three, where I-10 and I-75 meet) where the county went like 68% trump. There are fewer than 100k people in this county. Miami-Dade County, in contrast, has over 27 times more people.

    Even many Trump Chumps could figure out why the GOP counties report earlier than the Dem counties. Not most, perhaps, but many.

  27. Teve says:

    @Kathy: What a sad tragedy that was.

  28. Teve says:

    Rick Scott’s filed a lawsuit to shut down vote counting. Rumor has it he knows he’ll lose.

  29. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Resistance Ron:
    I see J-enos is back.

  30. Teve says:

    OT but great news: McConnell says they’re basically giving up trying to repeal Obamacare. Not gonna do anything in the Lame Duck.

    My friend who’d be dead without it will be quite relieved.

    I bet the fact that Senate Dems got over 40 million votes to Senate GOP’s 31,600,000 probably spooked TF out of Turtle.

  31. mattbernius says:

    Relevant twitter thread from noted liberal* Will Wilkinson:

    Obvious, but why are Republicans out there arguing that *counting the votes* is a way to “steal” an election when it means they might lose? Well, it’s because they think they’re entitled to power, and if there’s a way for their opponents to get it (democracy), they’re against it.

    Urban precincts are larger and much more Democratic, and larger precincts favor Republicans by creating larger “voter inconvenience.” (This is often by design in Republican-run states, such as Florida and Georgia.) (link to scholarship backing up claim: https://t.co/zHyQjCP3oa)

    But there is also greater large-precinct vote counting inconvenience. Republicans can amplify the already pro-GOP disenfranchising bias of large urban precincts by arguing that votes that don’t get counted immediately are fake and shouldn’t be counted at all.

    The GOP screws city folks both coming and going. Make voting such a hassle that bunch of voters don’t show, and make tabulating votes such a hassle that a bunch of the voters who did show up don’t count. Both tactics demoralize urban voters and help the GOP in the future.

    There’s a widespread under-examined assumption that the GOP’s turnout reliability advantage is all exogenous. But it’s not. Active disenfranchisement creates demotivating learned helplessness, and it’s meant to.

    Thread begins here: https://twitter.com/willwilkinson/status/1060931239824289793

    * – That was sarcasm for those not familiar with Wilkinson…

  32. Kathy says:

    Five Thirty Eight has a piece about the Florida race.

    They note the extreme undervote outlier, and offer this possible explanation: “An alternative explanation is that an error with the vote-tabulating machines in Broward County caused them to sometimes not read people’s votes for U.S. Senate.”

    That would be worth checking. But given the neuroses displayed on recounts, I don’t expect it unless there’s a hand recount.

    BTW, may I take the opportunity to say the ballot is insanely long? You sure elect a lot of officials.

    I’m also puzzled by ballot initiatives, amendments, propositions, or whatever else they’re called. I know what they are. I just can’t square the penchant for representative democracy and explicit disdain for majority rule, with this type of quasi-participatory democracy.

  33. Kathy says:


    Don’t count your lame ducks until they’re grounded.

  34. Eric Florack says:

    So urban areas tend to vote Democrat and they have more people. Okay, and then explain the idea that as of 9/30/18, Broward County Florida has 1,167,982 Registered voters.

    They turned in 1,284,780 Ballots. THAT’S 110% Particiaption.

    you know I think we may have figured out where the extra Democrat voters came from?

  35. Kathy says:

    @Eric Florack:

    I know I’ll regret this….

    They turned in 1,284,780 Ballots.

    Where did you get that number? It’s so clearly an indication of something mayor, that it should be all over the news, yet I see not a single mention of it on the internet at all.

    And that’s another kind of indication.

  36. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: He was mentioning the Democrats electing an America Hating Muslim Who Married Her Own Brother the other day, so I assume he gets his news from some alternate dimension.

    I still want to know who he was talking about, because that sounds hot.

  37. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: Many of those excess ballots were Governor Scott. Each time he voted, he would go outside, she’d his skin, and go back in line. We have no information as to whether or not his shed skin husks voted.

  38. Kathy says:


    Oh, that’s very likely, ergo my statement that I’d regret it.

    But, seriously, blatant fraud like that is the province of banana republics or Stalinist dictatorships, where there is no oversight or an independent press.

  39. Hal_10000 says:

    I do think the Republicans have a legit complaint in that Broward County is not in compliance with the law and mystery boxes of ballots showing up is always going to raises suspicions. Being Republicans, of course, they have to got to 11 and claim it’s fraud. But I don’t think they’re completely wrong here. Every comment above would be reversed if a Democrat’s lead were eroding because of votes suddenly turning up in a heavily Republican district.

  40. Franklin says:

    @Eric Florack: Citation, please.

    /can’t wait to see where you got this nonsense

  41. Scott O says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Logic would seem to suggest that if Republican administrators were responsible for this, those votes would have been destroyed.

    Eric, I usually don’t agree with your logic but maybe this time I do.

  42. Scott O says:

    @Kathy: Probably includes provisional ballots, spoiled ballots and maybe other categories that haven’t occurred to me.

  43. Bob@Youngstown says:

    Just a question :
    In Florida where are the votes tabulated?
    In Youngstown, optical scanners are at each precinct so votes are tabulated continuously throughout election day, consequently the vote tally for each office/issue can be printed out and posted at each polling place (almost) immediately at the close of voting. The scanners (with the actual ballots sealed inside) are then returned to the County Board of Elections. The only delay of any significant is that overseas and military ballots are given a few more days to clear the mail.

  44. JKB says:

    The US seems incapable of having a close election without the appearance of impropriety.

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Where did you get that number?

    His ass.

  46. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Every comment above would be reversed if a Democrat’s lead were eroding because of votes suddenly turning up in a heavily Republican district.


  47. gVOR08 says:

    Actually there are almost certainly fraudulent votes in FL. There are a lot of people with temporary residences in FL. Some establish legal residence and vote absentee in FL and in person in OH or wherever. Unlike in person ID fraud, this reportedly actually happens at some low, but not negligible, number. Could have, with some effort, done it myself over the last few years. Republicans never seem bothered by this double voting. Were one a cynic, which one certainly ought to be, one might think the lack of Republican concern is because snowbirds are overwhelmingly older, prosperous, and white.

  48. MattBernius says:

    @Resistance Ron:
    Again, it’s pretty clear that Snipes is incompetent at best and corrupt at worst. She needs to be thoroughly investigated and removed at a minimum (with criminal charges brought if necessary).

    However as noted, suspending her was well within Rick Scott’s control prior to the election. In fact she was in the position because Jeb Bush had removed her predecessor for incompetence in 2002. See this article for details (and a documentation of Snipes’ long history of issues in this position): https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/fl-ne-who-is-brenda-snipes-20181109-story.html

    So while she is to blame for the immediate problems (and necessary actions need to be taken), you still haven’t addressed why Scott — knowing all the issues and the previous findings against her — didn’t exercise his executive oversight function and remove her prior to the election. It wasn’t as if these problems developed overnight…

    BTW, I’ll also point out that the fact that the intermingled bad provisional ballots were caught and not counted is a demonstration that overall, the system is working.