Tuesday's election in Florida lasted until Saturday when the state was finally called for President Barack Obama. That's how long it took to sort through the mountains of absentee and other non-standard ballots.
The late count subjected Florida to the usual derision of its electoral ineptitude. Our favorite derisive jab: Billy Corben's observation in The New York Times that, unlike in 2000, the Sunshine State bungling was inconsequential. Hours before the last Miami ballot was cast, Obama had already won and called it a night. Florida was unnecessary.
“After this election, Florida is worse than a laughingstock,” Billy Corben, a Miami documentary filmmaker and avid election night Twitter user, said with a smile. “We’re now an irrelevant laughingstock.”
Gov. Rick Scott on Saturday ordered a review of the state electoral system to find our why so may people had to wait so long to vote. But many Floridians believe it was Scott himself who caused the problem, first by signing the elections bill that shortened the early voting period and then refusing to extend early voting when the problems became evident.
And that's one of several reasons that the state's re-invigorated Democrats are looking forward to the 2014 election, when Scott could face the voters again. From Scott's hometown paper, the Naples Daily News:
With two years before the gubernatorial election, (Gov. Scott) already has competition. State elections records show nine people, including Democratic outgoing state Sen. Nan Rich of Weston, have filed paperwork declaring their intention to run for governor. And political experts said the next two years likely will bring a flood of contenders hoping to knock out Scott.
"Rick Scott has a huge target on his back," said Kevin Cate, a Tallahassee-based political consultant and veteran of several Democratic campaigns. "There's a good opportunity to take the governor's office."
Now, when we say the election is over, it’s not really OVER over. U. S. Rep. Allen West is still hanging on. St. Lucie County recounted some of its ballots over the weekend, and actually boosted West's count against Democrat Patrick Murphy. But Murphy retains his recount-proof margin and, as George Bennett reports in The Palm Beach Post, both campaigns retain red and angry faces.
Murphy campaign attorney Sean Domnick declared victory after the partial recount and called on West, who has not conceded, to “step aside.”
West campaign manager Tim Edson called the recount a “sham” and a “circus” and vowed to pursue “every legal action available to make sure every vote is counted fairly and accurately in this election.”
Then search for a fair and accurate voting system has already begun with some promising new technology. It may look complicated, but it also has a big red button.
OK, the election is really over now. As you were.