Florida struggles to complete ballot count

4:48 PM, Nov 8, 2012   |    comments
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Tallahassee, Florida - Four Florida counties continued to count ballots Thursday as the state desperately tried to join all 49 other states in wrapping up the 2012 election.

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner reported Miami-Dade County finished counting its ballots around noon Thursday. Duval, Palm Beach and Broward were still tallying votes late Thursday afternoon.

Detzner said he was assured by elections supervisors in those counties that they would complete the job by the end of Thursday.

He blamed the holdup on a huge influx of absentee ballots in the closing days of the campaign. For example, Detzner said Miami-Dade County received 55,000 absentee ballots on Monday and Tuesday.

"On Monday, absentee ballots in Dade County alone- they received 29,000 and on Tuesday they received 26,000. And those ballots have to be opened, signatures have to be validated and so it takes a little bit of time to count those votes, but most importantly, we're counting them accurately and that takes a little extra time - and the turnout being so big, just took a little extra time this time."

So once again, Florida found itself wrestling with its election process, but this time the results were irrelevant.

Detzner defends Florida's election system.

"I think every year since 2000, we have improved on the process. We learned something on Tuesday and we learned something on early voting," said Detzner. "The governor has asked the Department of State and myself to come and make some recommendations to him, which we're going to do to solve some of the issues with regard to the enthusiasm for early voting. It's an administrative issue. I think we can address it and have it fixed for the next time, and I think that's what people want and we're going to fix it."

How exaclty does Detzner think the system can be fixed?

"I think that we want to make it more efficient, more convenient and easier for people to vote on a timely basis, but I think efficiency is the word for this year," he said.

Under state law, counties have until Saturday to turn in their election results to the state Division of Elections.

And while President Obama is leading in Florida by a slight margin of around 55,000 votes, the rest of the country already moved on without the state.

Dave Heller

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