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. Brad

    I Think we should start the recount Now

    November 8, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    Florida: where democracy goes to die.

    November 8, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Can't there be federal requirements passed to take care of some of this? 1. Each state must have adequate polling booths for early elections. 2. Hours for early elections must be at least 8 hours per day. 3. There must be a standard ballot design with presidential candidates listed side by side at the top of the ballot.

    In one state Romney's name was on the front page and Obama's name was on the back page at the bottom. Honestly, grade school kids could figure some of this stuff out.

    November 8, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  4. plain&simple

    The leadership in Florida starting at the top is inept and is standing out that way now. So be it.

    November 8, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  5. rs

    It's nice to see that Florida has attained 3 rd world status under Republican leadership.

    November 8, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  6. Bigereads

    Gov Scott should ask Romney and his Bain buddies to buy out the state, dismantle it, sell off whatever assets they can find, pocket the profits and then do what they did to all of the companies they trashed, ask the Federal government to step in and pick up the pieces. Get the Feds to pay the pension funds of those that Bain fired, and pick up their health insurance premiums. Romney did such a great job at being a vulture capitalist, that he and Scott would get a long great. Florida has a disgraceful GOP leadership. The GOP cannot govern. They never could. But they can lie like all hell to elderly people who tend to be docile and trusting of people in authority.

    November 8, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  7. What the...

    What he broke! Go home and cry a little more. Always one that has no brains!

    November 8, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  8. Carl Berryman

    Florida will still sell ya that swamp land too. ...lots of corruption here. It's the good ole boy network that runs the show even though FL has millions of "Yankees". If one would just look at the Red and Blue map one would know this is all about the sour grapes and Civil War mentality. It's funny that once the South was solid Democrat...read the history on why they flip-flopped.

    November 8, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. Wire Palladin, S. F

    We need to make sure that Rick Scott is no longer governor in 2014. Charlie Crist for governor.

    November 8, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. Tree

    Let them count, we know who WON. FL FL FL blame this on the GOV. Scott whoever. He is so wrong, he thought that he was going to stop the process and it made people get out there and vote. So all of his money and evil deed and etc did not work, You can not go wrong on people.............money yes.

    November 8, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  11. mjietu

    Is the counting hall fool of wacky backy smoke? Florida – and Miami-Dade county in particular chill and release floridian's votes results, do not be afraid you are still part of USA

    November 8, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  12. tomnikoly

    "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."

    Pure voter suppression. It was tried in nearly all the swing states and Obama won them all. Here in Ohio, I think our SOS should step down quite frankly.

    Florida will not change the outcome. This time.

    November 8, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  13. Nadine

    Thank you CNN for staying on top of this. AS A FLORIDA VOTER, I am really tired of my vote not counting. This is a DISGRACE

    November 8, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  14. @GuileOfTheGods

    This is all thanks to Governor Rick Scott, who messed up SO BADLY on how to actually run an election. Places were running out of ballots for people, places were closed, voters who have been voting for decades were taken off the roll. Gov. Scott NEEDS to get legal action against him for the way he handled this election.

    November 8, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  15. Dave

    Florida is a case study in ineptitude when it comes to elections. Then again, it's run by a bunch of inept Republicans, so this doesn't come as a surprise.

    November 8, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  16. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Oh.. Oh... I'm on the edge of my chair...

    Vote for someone in as Governor who's a known scoundrel and you get what you get...

    November 8, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  17. tom

    ok... um there's a difference of about 45,000 votes, and only 2,800 votes left to count. Why not call it?

    November 8, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  18. thebe

    AND THE GOOD NEWS IS ..... (drum roll please) ... It doesn't matter what the count in Florida is, because Obama won without them!!!! Stuff that in your pipe, Governor Rick Scott, and smoke it.
    Ohio Voter ID and less days of early voting – DONE!
    Florida Voter ID and less days of early voting – Don't matter ... lol

    November 8, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  19. Ken

    Okay 2800 provisional , 21,000 and some change being counted the last two days. Obama winning by around 47,000. Why can't they just call it for Obama now instead keeping the country waiting to end this. If Romney got all the 30,000 absentee and provisional it would still not give him enough. It's over Florida Gov.! Call it and end this.

    November 8, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  20. CO Res

    Florida, you can blame your governor, Rick Scott, and republican-controlled state congress for the long lines and delays caused by the change in early voting policies. Maybe you should remember that next election cycle.

    November 8, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  21. cali girl

    My hats off to everyone who stood in line up to 7 hours or more just to vote. Regardless if the votes can not get counted at least you are heroes for not giving up.

    November 8, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  22. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans have spent so much time attempting to suppress Floridia voters until they didn't count the votes but trust me, they're not in any hurry to count the vote because the results are the same, Obama won.

    November 8, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  23. Milton K. Wiah

    This state could have brought another problem had Obama not won outright. The GOP was planning to steal this
    election.

    November 8, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  24. Petronius2012

    The GOP doesn't want to admit Florida plumped for Obama because it makes it looks like they are in decline in their Southern heartland.

    November 8, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  25. karen

    I heard it was GOP Governor of FLorida that created all these problems. I believe he tried to suppress the vote by shorting voting days... Is this true. He needs be held accountable. Why are all these GOPs trying to suppress the vote. I just they realize that people have finally wised up and are not voting for these tired white guys.

    November 8, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
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