November 15, 2018; New York Times
Right after the midterms, we at NPQ had a discussion about the thin line between benign neglect of voting systems and outright suppression. Either, of course, is enormously disheartening for voters, and in the case of Florida, one judge is calling for an end to the madness.
Florida state officials have ordered a manual recount of votes cast in the senatorial race between current Republican governor Rick Scott and incumbent Democratic senator Bill Nelson. They have not yet chosen to do so the same in the hotly contested gubernatorial race between Rick DeSantis and Andrew Gillum, though Gillum has not conceded for a second time. His campaign is advocating for a hand count in that race as well, considering the failures in the voting system that emerged in the senatorial race.
“A vote denied is justice denied,” Gillum said in a statement. “The State of Florida must count every legally cast vote. As today’s unofficial reports and recent court proceedings make clear, there are tens of thousands of votes that have yet to be counted. We plan to do all we can to ensure that every voice is heard in this process.”
DeSantis, on the other hand, calls the election votes count “clear and unambiguous, just as they were on election night.”
Rick Scott, meanwhile, is still calling on Nelson to concede. Here’s what he said in a statement:
Last week, Florida voters elected me as their next US senator and now the ballots have been counted twice. Our state needs to move forward. We need to put this election behind us, and it is time for Bill Nelson to respect the will of the voters and graciously bring this process to an end, rather than proceed with yet another count of the votes—which will yield the same result, and bring more embarrassment to the state that we both love and have served.
The Associated Press, in its wisdom, is declining to call any winners in Florida until the results are certified by state election authorities on November 20th.
Around a dozen lawsuits have been filed concerning the processes and the timelines of the recount, which ran into inconsistencies and other failures—mechanical and otherwise—that called the machine recount into question.
“We have been the laughingstock of the world election after election,” Judge Mark E. Walker of the Federal District Court in Tallahassee told lawyers battling over the recount in his courtroom Thursday morning. “Yet we still chose not to fix it.”—Ruth McCambridge