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After November Election Results, Is South Florida Actually Purple?

Hialeah voting election November 2020
Matias J. Ocner
/
Miami Herald
People wait in line to vote at the John F. Kennedy Library in Hialeah, Florida during the November 2020 election.

On this episode of the South Florida Roundup: Republicans narrow their gap at the top of the ticket in South Florida while Democrats take the top spot in Miami-Dade County.

South Florida has gotten redder. Republicans flipped two congressional seats, helped deliver Florida for President Trump and expanded the GOP majority in Tallahassee.

President Trump also lost in Miami-Dade County by a smaller margin than he did in 2016.

WLRN is here for you, even when life is unpredictable. Local journalists are working hard to keep you informed on the latest developments across South Florida. Please support this vital work. Become a WLRN member today. Thank you.

On the South Florida Roundup, host Tom Hudson took a close look at the results of the election with a panel of journalists: Glenna Milberg, co-host of This Week in South Florida on WPLG Local 10, WLRN reporter Danny Rivero and Politico reporter Sabrina Rodriguez.

Here’s an excerpt of their conversation:

DANNY RIVERO: Last year, the state Legislature passed a law after the recount-nightmare election of 2018 that allows mail-in ballots to start getting counted 22 days before an election — which is one of the biggest windows out of any state in the whole country. They did this because two years ago, when we had three statewide recounts, a big part of why the whole process was drawn out and there was a lot of confusion about the vote totals changing was because of the delay in vote-by-mail ballots.

So, Florida very much got ahead of the curve on this and it changed our system to allow for early voting. And then you have states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. They knew that this was going to be an issue. Their Republican legislatures — for whatever reason — did not change the rules.

TOM HUDSON: Sabrina, what did you hear from election officials and voters in terms of the difference in the conversation around voting and then the counting of the vote that we saw this week?

SABRINA RODRIGUEZ: I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief that Florida is not the mess this year. That was a big topic of conversation, post-election, has just been saying how comparatively smoothly to other states as we're seeing Pennsylvania right now dealing with the counting.

And election officials going into this already had a sense of, you know, there was going to be historic early voting turnout; there was going to be historic numbers of mail-in ballots that they were going to have to go through. And they had obviously the benefit of being able to start counting early and be able to have things cranking out on election night.

When we get into the results, we know that the big storyline has been just how well Trump did in Miami-Dade County. And ultimately Biden did win, but that's nothing what was expected or hoped for from the Democratic Party. A lot of the conversation is what went wrong and playing the blame game.

For the Republicans, meantime, it's a bit of a victory lap that they're taking. I think one of the biggest surprises was just after 7 p.m. Eastern time, you refreshed the website for the Broward County Election Supervisors Office, and sure enough, there's hundreds of thousands of votes that have been tabulated. And this was in Broward County, right? We were waiting days two years ago for for that kind of responsiveness.

GLENNA MILBERG: Not only waiting days, but remember, reporters found ballots tucked away in the mail room. There was just a debacle in Broward. To the point made earlier, the ability to count early, the vote-by-mail, 22 days early and have that all ready to spring onto the results page soon after polls closing is a total game-changer. South Florida [and] Florida was braced for another "Flori-duh" moment that we didn't have, thanks to the election supervisors who took all the lessons that they've learned in the past couple of cycles and applied. I don't think I've spoken to one person from either party, from voters to operatives who can dispute that. It was just really a smooth ride this time.

This week, WLRN also heard from several folks about how they’ve been dealing with election anxiety this week.

Finding Comfort During The 2020 Election

Want to connect with the South Florida Roundup? Join the show's Facebook group to chat about our segments anytime. Send us a note. Pitch us an idea. Or just say, "Hi." We'd love to hear from you.

Alexander Gonzalez produces the afternoon newscasts airing during All Things Considered. He enjoys helping tell the South Florida story through audio and digital platforms. Alex is interested in a little of everything from business to culture to politics.
In a journalism career covering news from high global finance to neighborhood infrastructure, Tom Hudson is the Vice President of News and Special Correspondent for WLRN. He hosts and produces the Sunshine Economy and anchors the Florida Roundup in addition to leading the organization's news engagement strategy.