Lawyers representing Florida’s aggrieved Democratic candidates for US Senator, Governor and State Representative filed a flurry of lawsuits in the past week. These lawsuits, attacked by the GOP and partisan corners of the media have already begun benefiting Republicans, as they might into the future as well.
It can be argued what the Democrats have tried to do around Florida Recount was partisan. Filling lawsuit after lawsuit was intended perhaps to keep counts going and try to find any path, however narrow to victory. But it seems much of it might be actually benefiting Republicans in terms of vote counts.
Extending recounts, instituting an opportunity for those whose ballots were disqualified based on signature confusion and demanding a full count in every county have already benefited Republican Matt Caldwell running for Agriculture Commissioner, as well as Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in pockets. They also very well could benefit multiple Republican legislative candidates stuck in recounts.
Many Democratic activists wrongly assumed demanding a full accounting of undervotes and the allowing those with disqualified ballots based on signature confusion to get a second chance were some way to defeat a GOP plot against Democrats. They incorrectly thought Democrats would pick up thousands of votes.
In the last 48 hours we’ve learned Republicans get shafted by these bad laws as much as much as Democrats do, and the GOP has picked up votes in unlikely places. I also understand insufficient signature information has in some places impacted Republicans MORE than Democrats despite the sloppy assumption among many Democrats that signature disqualification targeted African-American and Latino voters specifically. In fact, it targets poor people in general – and we have plenty of poor white people who vote Republican in this state. It also targets elderly people, and well this is Florida.
One personal point – I have supported and agreed with all the Democrats lawsuits except one- I don’t agree with the court decision on VBM signatures as the statutory deadline is clear and SOE offices have mechanisms to communicate with those voters whose signatures are questioned – to me the decision gives both parties a late chance to stuff the ballot box knowing how many votes are needed in every close contest, with votes that were previously rightly under statute (one I disagree with, but it’s the law) disqualified in my opinion. I do believe if a candidate that loses a recount did so because of these newly permitted ballots, they should have legal recourse and challenge the election in court. As of now it appears these votes are unlikely to flip any races, but stay tuned. I should state I support complete repeal of signature requirements on absentee or mail-in ballots and would look at a solution like notaries or something else that can authenticate the ballot without signatures being compared.
Outside the bad ballot in Broward which because of geography DID DEFINITIVELY benefit Rick Scott, it seems voting errors impacted both parties almost equally. Cries of discrimination coming from Democratic activists are beginning to ring hollow. Working class voters of ALL RACES have problems with signatures and reading long and confusing ballots.
So what does this tell us?
1- The Democratic lawsuits have been good for Florida’s elections because voting problems and tabulation problems are blind to party, race or religion. They have clearly impacted citizens of both parties and every ideological corner.
2- The legislature needs to overhaul election laws again in this state using the existing rulings from the court cases filed by Democrats and Anton Scalia’s majority opinion in Bush v Gore into consideration. This needs to be done THIS SESSION and should be the first priority of Speaker Oliva and Governor DeSantis.
3- Florida is under intense scrutiny from the national media and political elites outside the state. Since California and other states slow tabulation process never seems to be mocked the way Florida’s does, we need to recognize the damage done by the media frenzy attacking Florida led by CNN, FOX News and MSNBC and work to fix the state’s image. The legislature also should be working with the Governor to ensure the national media has full access to our state and election records in addition to pushing some positive stories about our electoral integrity in this state.