This is the point, days after the election, where you want to break into a F-L-O-R-I-D-A scream. Or a hopeful little dance if you’re a Democrat.
Can you say… still counting! And coming up, recount!
Hair-thin margins in key Florida races demand it. Voters deserve it.
Five little words, folks: The. Election. Isn’t. Over. Yet.
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You can rant if you voted for the Republican winner under review — which is what Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign is doing, spinning lies Trump-style — but it won’t help. Scott’s campaign team blasted his formidable Democratic opponent, incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, accusing him of trying to “steal” the election by pursuing a recount.
“It is sad and embarrassing that Bill Nelson would resort to these low tactics after the voters have clearly spoken,” the Scott campaign said in a statement.
But voters hadn’t finished speaking when Scott — who forked over $64 million of his own money on this bid for the U.S. Senate — claimed victory too soon on election night based on an ultra-slim margin win.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio, too, implied on Twitter that something fishy is going on, using loaded language to communicate developments in the late vote count.
“Latest ballots dumped by #Broward &/or #PalmBeach flipped Ag Comm race to Dem & shaved another 4k+ from Scott’s lead in Senate race. Since 3am Wed slow drip from these 2 Dem controlled counties cut Scott lead from 54 to 17K. And they refuse to disclose # of ballots they have left,” Rubio wrote.
He calls ballots from the most Democratic county in the state a dump.
I call those ballots proof that in divided Florida every vote counts.
Voters who justify neglecting their civic duty should reflect on this. If all of the registered voters who didn’t vote had shown up, you might have made history without a recount.
But... Count on! Count until every single ballot in hand is accounted for.
Our statewide races are tight, not only because of the partisan divide, but because all those third-party candidates with no shot in hell of winning end up taking up a nice chunk of votes.
Democrats don’t want to steal the election — but they do want every vote counted.
It’s not the Democrats being sore losers that is triggering the recount. It’s the law.
In Florida, a machine recount is automatically triggered if candidates are within 0.5 percent or less of each other. A hand recount is required if the margin is 0.25 percent or less.
The Senate, the governor and the agricultural commissioner races all qualify for a recount.
Republicans would be thrilled if the election night winners were Democrats — and, with voting margins this close, they had a shot at winning with votes that hadn’t been counted or problem ballots that had to be addressed.
Isn’t this how George Bush became president when his brother, Jeb, was the governor of Florida in 2000? How easy the GOP forgets the hanging-chad recount.
Likewise, we’ll be talking about the 2018 midterm election for years.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum gallantly conceded too early Tuesday night, but his race for governor is headed for a recount for the first time in state history. By Friday morning’s count, his losing margin stood at 0.44 percent with only 36,000-some votes separating him from Ron DeSantis. Maybe he won’t be able to overcome the distance at the end, but Florida voters deserve the right count.
“Every voice must be heard in this race!” Gillum tweeted Thursday.
Nelson, a veteran who knows it isn’t over in this topsy-turvy state until the last vote is counted, won’t concede.
Good for him.
For one, in the Democratic stronghold of Broward, where ballots are still being counted, there are about 24,000 of them that strangely have no vote in the Senate race. That needs a second look to determine whether it was a tabulation error or something else.
Democratic-leaning Palm Beach County also is still counting mail-in ballots as of this writing. A mere 15,024 votes gave Scott the edge over Nelson on Friday.
The new counts flipped the agriculture commissioner’s race to Democrat Nikki Fried by 2,974 votes. But she too can’t claim victory just yet. Who knows what will happen with the recount when you have such a hair-thin margin?
If that race returns to its original results, I bet you there won’t be any Republican crying “Democratic steal!” or tweeting about ballot dumps.
The nation may be looking upon us with raised eyebrows, but I say be patient. Show some respect to every ballot.
In Florida, recounts matter.
Follow Fabiola Santiago on Twitter, @fabiolasantiago