The Florida election official so well-respected by Republicans and Democrats alike in 2000 that he was tapped to oversee that year’s historic Presidential “recount” between George W. Bush and Al Gore in Florida (until it was stopped by the U.S. Supreme Court), tells us today that it is likely impossible for the state to complete three statewide recounts — for U.S. Senate, Governor and Agriculture Commissioner — in time to meet the state’s ridiculously arbitrary statutory deadlines. Run by Republicans for decades, the state “puts a premium on speed”, rather than accuracy, ION SANCHO, the 28-year former Leon County (Tallahassee) Supervisor of Elections tells me on today’s BradCast. “This is, by no means, a system geared toward finding the truth.” [Audio link to show follow below.]
Sancho explains how it is currently unlawful to add any vote to the totals as based on a hand examination of ballots by human beings, as he details the process now officially under way in the Sunshine State for a machine “recount” in the gubernatorial race between Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis (who, the computers report, leads by about 0.41%) and a supposed “manual” count in the U.S. Senate contest between incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and term-limited FL Gov. Rick Scott (which Scott is said to be leading by 0.15%, or less than 15,000 votes out of more than 8 million cast.) Sancho details how even in a “manual” count in FL, ballots are first fed through tabulation computers and only ballots determined by the computers to be over- or undervotes are then re-examined. But, even those ballots are, yes, “remade” by officials onto a fresh ballot paper so that it can can then be run through a computer tabulator.
Given the limitations on the so-called high-speed tabulation systems made by companies like ES&S, still used across the state — which only accept “300 ballots at a time” — the scanners used in counties like heavily Democratic-leaning Palm Beach “cannot physically do this job” before statutory deadlines run out. All ballots must be “recounted” by Thursday (even though overseas and military votes aren’t due until this coming Saturday!) It’s a system, Sancho describes, that was put in place before the very popular no-excuse absentee Vote-by-Mail system was allowed in Florida, along with provisional voting and other election practices that require time-consuming ballot-by-ballot evaluation to determine whether it’s eligible for tabulation in the first place.
As noted on today’s program, Florida will have “counted” and “recounted” its ballots (correctly or incorrectly, we will never know) less than a week and a half after last week’s midterms, several weeks before California even announces completion of its initial count in early December.
All of this, as Scott and even the President of the United States are falsely charging election fraud is ongoing in the state’s two largest counties (Broward and Palm Beach), despite a complete lack of evidence to support any such claims. Scott’s own Secretary of State and Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement — who Scott oversees and who both have authority to oversee elections and election crimes in all 67 Florida counties — concede they have no evidence to support the GOP claims. Sancho also responds to the “laughable” charges of “fraud” being made by Scott and the “truth-free statement” tweeted by Trump on Monday morning, which falsely claims that “ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged” in Florida.
A couple of points worth underscoring here, as the Republicans have been busy dusting off their 2000 playbook to lie about “fraud” occurring in Palm Beach and particularly in Broward, in hopes of shutting down the tabulation of legitimate ballots altogether, once again, in Florida: 1) Brenda Snipes, the Supervisor of Elections in Democratic-leaning Broward County, which has had a number of election failures over the years, was appointed by Republican Gov. Jeb Bush in 2003; 2) Current Republican Gov. Rick Scott appointed his hand-picked Sec. of State Ken Detzner, who has tasked officials from his own office to oversee Broward’s election office this year; 3) Nobody from Detzner’s office or Florida Law Enforcement has seen or alleged anycriminal wrong doing in the county. None of that, however, has prevented GOPers from claiming otherwise.
“Everybody’s vote needs to be given the same weight,” Sancho, a longtime election integrity champion who has taken on both the state and the voting machine companies argues during today’s conversation. “It shouldn’t depend upon whether you’re in a competent or incompetent jurisdiction. Your vote should count if you cast them properly and you’ve made no errors.”