Thursday, November 08, 2012

National Disgrace: A planned election fiasco in Florida ... by gimleteye

Florida still hasn't declared. Another bungled presidential election cycle where the process failed. While the nation's pundits are all competing to interpret the Obama victory, Eye On Miami would like to ask the US Department of Justice to investigate and for readers to dwell, for a moment, on the disaster that would have unfolded if Obama had not held the Midwest firewall or not held Ohio.

That scenario would have thrown the election right back to Florida, just like 2000, where eventually the US Supreme Court selected a president. So far, we haven't heard a single Democratic leader in the state (are there any?) raise a peep of protest at the near train wreck. It is Thursday morning. Florida still hasn't declared.

The worst of it: the press documented how the Republican legislature and Gov. Rick Scott conspired to suppress the vote, diminishing chances of an Obama victory. The lengthy ballot wasn't inadvertent. It was loaded with right-wing, extremist measures on purpose: to make it more difficult to process ballots from people who have a hard time reading English. Hispanics and African Americans.

This isn't speculation. The intent of voter suppression is fully briefed in acrimonious litigation between state GOP officials and the former head of the state Republican Party, Jim Greer. As noted by Politico this morning, "... exit polls showed the same share of African Americans turned out as four years ago, something that GOP turnout models did not anticipate."

Gov. Rick Scott could have authorized and expanded early voting. The early voting lines in Miami-Dade were extraordinarily long. Mayor Carlos Gimenez, a Republican, could have insisted on a competent response to what was clearly heading to an election day logjam that would hold for days beyond the closing of polls. The absentee and provisional ballots are still being counted by hand, one by one. That is a strategy, not a mistake. "We didn't think they'd turn out more of their base than they did in 2008, but they smoked us," one Romney operative told Politico. "It's unbelievable that they turned out more from the African American community than in 2008. Somehow they got 'em to vote."

It is excruciating to imagine the entire nation could now be hostage to Miami's incompetence and GOP radicals, again.

We are at Thursday morning. The nation would be in an uproar, waiting for Florida. Again. Had that happened, GOP operatives; Jeb! Bush, Rick Scott, Marco Rubio and the legions of GOP lobbyists and attorneys who infest the state capitol like fleas on a dog would be racing to the TV cameras.

This scenario occurred to me instantly, in that brief, extraordinary moment after three networks had projected Ohio for Obama and on Fox News, Karl Rove anchored the news desk and exposed his plan to an audience of millions: Fox needed to stonewall, reject the professional analysis of its own election experts, and delay projecting Ohio. Fair and balanced? This was not a "Hail Mary Pass" by a political quarterback who had cost his investors billions and the nation, trillions. You couldn't fit this guy's balls in a Boeing Dreamliner.

The New York Times raised the question more delicately: "What role was Karl Rove playing when he heatedly contradicted Fox News?"

To the Times, Rove offers the excuse that "the ghosts of 2000 prompted him to act." Those weren't ghosts. Rove was setting up Florida and the federal judiciary, where he has leverage through judges he personally vetted during the Bush terms, to put Mitt Romney in the White House.

A lengthy ballot -- stacked with ridiculous measures stuffed by right-wing GOP legislators, confusion, inadequate voting equipment -- caused outrageous and lengthy delays. But those waits of up to six hours are nothing compared to the controlled experiment of botching a presidential election in order to prevail through post-election chaos.

According to the Miami Herald, "Deputy Elections Supervisor Christina White insisted Wednesday morning that an unusually long ballot and high voter turnout, which was 64 percent, was to blame, not a lack of resources. “Its not that there were any problems or glitches,” White told reporters. "It’s about volume and paper left to be processed,"

The result is a disgrace, but in its fundamental respects mirrors the government-designed-to-fail that we document at Eye On Miami. The anger should be directed where it belongs: at incumbent legislators and county officials that Floridians dumbly return to office one election cycle after another.

How many of those standing in long lines even know the names of their state representatives and state senators? Or why, in November 2000, then mayor of Miami-Dade County Alex Penelas took a flight to Spain "on personal business" instead of staying with the ship, at the elections department, where GOP operatives helicoptered in from Washington DC successfully disrupted the recount?

So there it is: thank you, Ohio, because you have shown the nation the real political face of Florida.


Anonymous said...

You are right, it was a conspiracy. Scott and Gimenez were the leaders. There was no vote-counting operation because they never intended to have the votes counted by 11:00 pm like everyone else. They were planning to throw the election to Romney. They knew turnout would be high because turnout was 70% four year ago. So the excuse that a large number of voters showed up doesnot wash. The excuse that the ballot was long does not wash either because everyone knew it, and they are the ones that made it long. You are right, the US Justice Department needs to come in. This is criminal.

Anonymous said...

Let's think about this.... One of the first things mayor G did when he replaced Alvarez was dump the Experienced election director. Not that the previous guy was an angel... He was snotty and arrogant .... But, he knew elections.

Mayor G then proceeded to promote a very nice lady who has gone out of her way to try to create fair elections by working very hard on absentee ballot issues and really trying hard to train and retrain people (like you and me) to run polls.

What Mayor G then did was cut the elections budget/staff encourage them to use temporary help who are not experienced in elections. These temps were not the ones at the polls, these are the lucky ducks answering questions at elections and processing important documents for candidates and your applications. Can you imagine how hard it was for them to be temps thrown into a job trying to learn tons of rules while doing the job knowing that they would be dumped in a few months? Trust me the morale at elections sucked before old Lester left and the new gal had nothing to do with it...

Our new director is scapegoat for what Mayor Gimenezs agenda was from his first day in office.

miaexile said...

someone tell the dade county elections supervisor that her excuse that the ballot was long is bs. - those long bs ammendments were on all the ballots in the state, yet we're only waiting for Dade and Broward? really?
Does everyone realize we have rick scott as douchebag governor until 2015. 2015. ugh.

Anonymous said...

Investigate this: all day Monday Nov 5 the county spokesperson Suzie Truttie was giving out false info to reporters and the public that voters would not be able to in person absentee ballot at the elections Dept .In Doral.

Anonymous said...

Classic Bush psy-ops.

Anonymous said...

To expedite DOJ's involvement, call Michael Moore and/or Gregg Palast. A documentary would help us all and get the feds on their toes!

Anonymous said...

It was an overt attempt to overthrow the government of the United States. That is treason. Treason is punishable with the death penalty. In a democracy the vote is sacrosanct. A few people dying for trying to overthrow the government means that we won't ever have to address this issue again. You can have plenty of early voting sites, 100% turnout and vote in two minutes with no line, once executions occur. Election night there would be an army of counters if needed, to get our votes in by 11:00 like everyone else. No one would dare stand in front of the right to vote, or plan to throw an election. Please come in Justice Department, let's get this going.

Anonymous said...

The Dept. of Justice needs to investigate regardless. Voters were severely disenfranchised in this important election. God forbid the candidates had to rely on Florida to be a tie breaker. Whether it was voter suppression from Republican Governor or Republican Mayor and/or incompetence of elections staff (which would not surprise me), voters need to be confident in the next major election that none of this happens again. The Elections Dept. should never use temp employees to handle ballots. Do you see temps being used to sub for police officers or fire fighters?

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this is possible for the future, but, ..I would make it possible to allow voters to vote in a number of precincts, instead of one. This way, if there is a heavy turnout in one preinct, and there are others that are not as busy, they should be able to handle the overflow.
Your voters registration should have a Main precinct AND four backups. The backup precincts will have access to your information via computers. In theis day and age, we have the technology ...why not use it? You don't have to hire more hands nor equipment, just shift the load of voters from one place to another.

Anonymous said...

Every county that did not report their numbers election night should be looked at.

Anonymous said...

OMFG. The Democrats win big on Tuesday, and you STILL insist there was some conspiracy?! With all due respect to the "do not attack the bloggers" rule, every single one of you posting above is a lunatic. Enjoy the win for cryin' out loud.

Anonymous said...

We have observed this process closely as it developed, and given our observations these questions and conclusions are inescapable.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone find it suspicious that the last well run election in our state was under Lawton Chiles?