Big Red Car here today talking Florida voting. Why is it always Florida? Why always Broward and Palm Beach counties?
Not taking sides on anything, but making a few observations.
Learning to count in Florida
Before we can really understand what is going on in Florida, we need to know some basic terms.
Election Day Vote Count — the actual number of ballots cast on election day. Most counties — sixty-five of Florida’s sixty-seven did — are able to count these ballots before midnight on Election Day. Not in Florida, for some unexplained reason. In fairness, most Florida counties do this handily except for places like Broward and Palm Beach counties. Right next door in Dade County, they were done by ten o’clock and went out for ceviche and margaritas.
Early, In-Person Vote Count — the actual number of ballots cast during “early voting.” Early voting ends before the beginning of regular voting. These ballots are typically counted before Election Day.
Absentee Vote Count — the actual number of ballots mailed and received by 7:00 PM on Election Day, same time that Election Day Vote Count begins. These votes can be counted as received.
Overseas Military Vote Count — the actual number of ballots mailed by November 6 and received by November 16 from military and dependents stationed overseas. These votes can be counted as received.
Provisional Vote Count — the actual number of ballots for which there is some discrepancy which the voter must clear up before the ballot can be counted.
An example is a voter who arrives and votes without a photo ID in accordance with Florida election law. Another example is an absentee ballot without a signature.
These ballots are identified by election officials (Election Judges) at the polling point, segregated from all others, and forwarded to the county election official for disposition.
Only when cleared by the county election official can a provisional ballot be counted. Many provisional ballots are never cleared up, while some simply require the voter to drop by the county office with a driver’s license to validate their identity.
Undervote — when a voter doesn’t vote in every race, it is called an “undervote.” This means somebody may have voted for the Governor, but not in the Senate race. These votes are often reviewed to ensure there is no machine counting error.
Overvote — when a voter casts a vote for both candidates for the same office, it is called an “overvote.” These ballots are typically not counted.
Recount — Florida law requires an automatic recount when the margin of victory is less than 0.5%. The ballots are run through the machines again. If the margin of victory in the recount is less than 0.25%, then Florida law requires an automatic manual recount wherein each absentee, undervote, or overvote is perused and a judgment made upon it.
As you can see, there is a degree of complexity in simply creating the body of ballots to be considered before counting even begins. Still, every county in Florida can do it on time, but Broward and Palm Beach counties.
State law requires that the county election office (Supervisor of Elections) certify to the Florida Secretary of State the “unofficial” results of the election before any recount can begin. If there is not to be a recount, then these are the “official” election results.
Who’s running this whore house, Big Red Car?
Simmer down, dear reader. No reason to be hostile.
1. Each county elects its own Supervisor of Elections who assembles their team to conduct their operations. This injects a bit of partisan party politics.
2. Each county has a Canvassing Board composed of the Supervisor of Elections, a county court judge (typically of a different party from the Supervisor of Elections), and the county commission chair.
In this manner, there are typically two members of one party (the Democrats in the case of Broward and Palm Beach counties) and a single member of the other party.
It is the Canvassing Board’s job to rectify disputes and to make determinations as to any disputed or unclear ballots. Many times their deliberations are done in public with the press in attendance.
3. The State of Florida has a Division of Elections which oversees elections.
4. The Florida Secretary of State is the senior election official.
Where is the mischief, Big Red Car?
The mischief comes from several sources, dear reader.
1. The Supervisor of Elections has admitted to making final determinations on certain ballots which should have been made by the Canvassing Board. There are those who find fault with this wholesale usurpation of power.
2. These determinations have been kept secret and the ballots — as an example unsigned absentee ballots, undervotes, overvotes, damaged ballots, and provisional ballots — themselves have never been seen by anyone other than the partisan elected Supervisor of Elections.
3. The statistical composition of these determinations do not match the underlying voting pattern of these counties — meaning way more votes from one party than another. Way more votes for that party’s candidates than another.
4. The big one is the provisional ballots. If there is voter fraud (as opposed to voting administration fraud), this is where it will be found. If there is a combination of voter and admin fraud, this is where they work together.
5. A secondary source of concern is the undervote wherein somebody can complete the ballot.
Bottom line it, Big Red Car
The bottom line is this, dear reader:
In these Dem strongholds, there are enormous irregularities in admin and counting which are not found in other counties throughout Florida. It has been going on for two decades at least. Why is it always Broward and Palm Beach counties? Ponder that.
The Supervisors of Elections in both of these counties refuse to reveal the total number of ballots. [Cynics will say — “We’ll let you know how many votes there are when we figure out how many we need to win.” Your Big Red Car is not quite that cynical, but it is troubling. Every other county — sixty-five in total — is finished and these clowns cannot even tell us how many ballots they are dealing with?]
All the continuing counts are closing the margin of victory of both the Republican Governor’s victory and the Republican Senate candidate’s victory.
These vote movements do not reflect the underlying statistical voting trends in the same counties.
The participants in the vote tallying are political operatives — did I mention they are elected on a partisan basis?
There is enormous usurpation of authority that clearly is wrong and nobody is doing anything about it. This is all being done in secret. Nobody other than the county Supervisor of Elections is looking at the ballots and making determinations.