With absentee ballots counted, Florida remains in question
November 8th, 2012
12:22 PM ET
1 year ago

With absentee ballots counted, Florida remains in question

Washington (CNN) – Officials from Miami-Dade County say they have finished counting absentee ballots and will begin counting the county’s 2,800 provisional ballots on Thursday afternoon.

Election officials worked overnight to finish counting the outstanding ballots – votes that are largely to blame for holding up the process of declaring a presidential winner in Florida.

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Penelope Townsley, supervisor of elections for Miami-Dade County, expects all absentee and provisional ballots will be fully counted by Friday afternoon.

“Am I embarrassed by some of the things that happened? Absolutely,” Townsley told reporters in regards to the voting issues. “But I have to focus on simply getting it right. And that is exactly what I will move to do.”

In an effort to improve the way the next election is carried out in Miami-Dade County, the county will put together an “after action” report, according to Townsley. This report will look to improve both the overall facilities and the number of facilities in the next election.

One reason for the slow process, Townsley said, was the high turnout in the county.

“The turnout was something that caused us to have to deploy additional resources, additional equipment,” Townsley said. “And we will learn from those lessons.”

Florida remains the only state that CNN has yet to call in the already decided election. With 97% of the vote reported, President Barack Obama has earned 4,143,364 votes, edging out Mitt Romney's 4,096,351.

Florida – and Miami-Dade county in particular – was plagued by long lines at the polls. Voters queued long into the night on Tuesday; some still waiting to vote after the election had been called for Obama.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez called the voting issues "a perfect storm," in an interview with CNN.

"Without a doubt we had some operational issues that we have got to take care of," said Gimenez. "We had the longest ballot in Florida history. It probably took voters two and a half times longer to vote individually than they had last time."

For the mayor, who said he was "already knowledgeable" about all the ballot issue, it took him 10 to 15 minutes to get though the entire ballot. "Could you imagine," he said, "someone who didn't know everything on that ballot?"

Though the mayor said he is convening a special panel to look into the election issues, one reason the mayor volunteered was fewer days of early voting.

"We also had fewer days of early voting," Gimenez said. "That was changed by the state legislature and signed into law by the governor. We need to expand early voting hours again like we had in the past. We also need to expand the number of early voting sites."

Carolina Lopez, Miami-Dade County Election department spokeswoman, told reporters Thursday in Doral, Florida, that their department worked through the night to process all the 21,500 absentee ballots.

Those ballots, she said, will be "processed very shortly."

"I believe that when you're the largest county in the state of Florida, history will put all eyes on us," Lopez said. "But the important thing is just to keep on, giving the best performance that we can, providing accurate results so that they're not scrutinized later. I think when it's all said and done, our 1.3-million registered voters will have solid results and we can move past the presidential election."


Filed under: 2012 • Florida
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    The only interest I have in Florida now is to see whether or not Axelrod keeps his moustache or not.

    November 8, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  2. todd mcjunkin

    They should all be fired...starting with Rick Scott.

    November 8, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. GOP = Greed Over People!

    FL is it really that hard to count votes?

    All together class, 1,2,3...

    If you get confused take out a calculator and add 1 to the last number!

    Do not be afraid of the big numbers they are tens, hundreds, thousand, ten thousand, 100 thousand, million and the really really big one is in 10 million groups.

    Baby steps, FL, baby steps(maybe it should be walker steps?)

    November 8, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. Gary H

    Florida still is counting its votes. That means that if the race had once again been determined by their outcome....we still would not know who won. 12 years after one of the biggest vote counting fiascos in our history and Florida still hasn't taken steps to end the problem. It isn't because the state is so large, or so populated, or that a natural disaster delays them every single time. California, Texas, New York, Illinois, New Jersy....all are able to count and determine a winner....even in close elections within a day or two. It isn't a language problem. It isn't a technology problem. It isn't a state with limited communications or transportation issues. If Florida isn't willing, or capable of ending their vote casting and counting problems, the Federal Government needs to step in and standardize their systems...and tax them extra for doing it. What they have now leaves too many chances for tampering, miscounting, and delaying the results of highly critical races.

    November 8, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. jkane sfl a vote for lady parts romney the tax cheat and lyin lady parts ryan willcut your moms medicare and soc sec . .can you afford to pay for them???

    The Florida gop and Scott are a joke and an embarrassment to the Florida voters and the rest of the nation and need to be replaced. In a couple of places they had only one voting machine in a presidential election , obvious voter suppression by Scott and the gop . One of the vote captains returned two million dallars to the state before the elections started . Pure incompetents by Scott and the rest of the gop idiots ,by Scott ,another one term gov like romney !!!!!

    November 8, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  6. MDNA = MaDge Not Applicable!

    Looking at the photo, I think I can give a hint as to why FL is so slow, liver spots.

    Coupled with the fact that some one keeps moving the abacus!

    November 8, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. vic , nashville ,tn

    Florida takes your own time! We have the winner with out you

    November 8, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  8. Political-Capital...Talk

    We are hearing that Obama now has in his second-term "Political-Capital" to spend..."What does it mean"..? It simply means that Pres Obama will try to repair what he 'BROKE' trying to fix in his First-term....!

    November 8, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  9. Max

    What kind of Democracy is this??? Duh!

    ""Florida – and Miami-Dade county in particular – was plagued by long lines at the polls. Voters queued long into the night on Tuesday; some still waiting to vote after the election had been called for Obama.""

    This is not a figment of the imagination...in America which describes itself as a true democarcy people were still standing in long lines to vote even after they already knew that Obama was re-elected as president. This is so weird...and this is the kind of democracy the United States of Amrica is imposing on other countries...particularly in the Middle East. No wonder the United States is rediculed all around the globe as a weird country in which to live...the most RACIST country on earth.

    We have a saying 'look at yourself before you look at others' meaning 'get your own house in order, before you try to get other people houses in order' Really! is this what democracy is meant to be? Does democracy involves making desperate and schematic attempts to prevent certain people from voting? Does democracy involves threating voters who vote for a particular candidate? Does democary mean that the winner is decide long before some polling stations are closed since others have not voted? The one answer to ALL these questions should be an emphatic NO!

    In the 'greatest country on earth' What kind of democracy is this??? DUH!!!!!!

    November 8, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. Marina Portillo

    They are still counting even the states that were affected by Hurricane Sandy didn't have an issues...I guess Scott and the GOP plan of voter suppression is obvious now...

    November 8, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  11. GOP = Greed Over People!

    Oh Hell, just give FL to Romney and let those poor folks go home!

    November 8, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. DJP

    Any state that consistently screws up the voting process should not be entitled to 29 electoral votes. What if the outcome was still in doubt? Again, we'd be waiting on Florida.

    November 8, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  13. Alfred E. Neuman

    Florida is totally inept at running elections.

    November 8, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  14. keshalaws

    LOL @ the liver spots comment- hilarious. Thank goodness we do not need those crooks in FL to tell us who is the next president. Their tactics did not work this time around!!!

    November 8, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  15. Aaron

    Florida: You are the laughing stock of the electoral process.

    November 8, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  16. Clark Bran

    Well done Florida. Way to blow it gain.

    November 8, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  17. Joi Gibson

    Good googly moogly – why does my state continuously mess up with voting. This could have been avoided if Lurch (Gov. Scott) had not cut early voting. He should be ashamed of himself. A state with a heavy elderly population and because of him, you have folks waiting in line upwards of 3 or more hours to vote. In Palm Beach County, there were only about 6 early voting stations. That is insane.

    BTW, Allen West is now contesting the race between him and Patrick Murphy meaning there will be an automatic recount. Murphy was up by several thousand votes – it is pretty close.

    November 8, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  18. WB

    The GOP in Florida (and elsewhere) specifically cut down on early voting opportunities to stifle the Democratic votes. A high percentage of Democrats aren't able to take off work on Tuesdays, so many do early voting. The GOP cut back on early voting days in Florida, and now they look stupid. And their plan of repression didn't work anyway. Stop trying to cheat, GOP!

    November 8, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  19. n, tx

    Governor of Florida needs to get fired and impeach for reducing the days of election, why does he not count the votes too. At the end president Obama will win Florida.

    November 8, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  20. ronvan

    NO EXCUSE!!! WE have been hearing about floridia and its voting problems way to long! Totally agree with those comments about firing everyone involved and let the govt. come in and MANDATE, how their system WILL WORK! Then give them the bill!! This is a fiasco and total embarassment, not only to florida but to our country! And WHO was responsible for, what did they say, 9 PAGES, that you had to vote on!? That shows just how stupid and inept these people are!

    November 8, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  21. Travis

    @ GOP = Greed Over People!
    "Oh Hell, just give FL to Romney and let those poor folks go home!"

    And if they did, you would be shouting about voter fraud/suppression.

    November 8, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  22. just sayin

    they are all deaf and can't hear all the people yelling at them to go faster. stop the elder abuse.

    November 8, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  23. edog

    Why is Gov. Scott silent on this

    November 8, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  24. recovering republician

    Here we go again. what is wrong in Florida??? Bush stole the Presidental race there, now, there are question????

    I think the Democratic authorities need to send an army of people there to insure the fair count, where there is smoke there is certianly fire in florida

    November 8, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  25. New Citizen

    This is unacceptable from Rick Scott. This is not a third world country. He decided he was going to reduce the early voting from 14 days to 8 days, and because of that, voters were still voting when the race was called. Some of us will just vote for the winner so this is seriously unacceptable. Rick Scott wanted to suppress the vote and it backfired. Just do the right thing, and this is why I hate politicians.

    November 8, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
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