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The South Florida Roundup

Miami Book Fair Authors Respond To Florida Recount

Katie Lepri
From left to right, WLRN's Tom Hudson hosts a Miami Book Fair panel: romance novelist Nadine Gonzalez, AP reporter Curt Anderson and essayist Dawn Davies.

November isn’t just Thanksgiving and elections in South Florida. It's also when the Miami Book Fair sets up shop at Miami Dade College’s downtown campus.

A trio of authors joined the South Florida Roundup, along with Associated Press reporter Curt Anderson, to discuss the Florida recount drama and hear from voters. 

Dawn Davies is a Broward-based author. Her book “Mothers of Sparta: A Memoir in Pieces” is a collection of first-person essays about growing up and becoming a parent herself. The title essay deals with her challenges of taking care of a son diagnosed with autism.

Alan Dershowitz is a noted civil liberties lawyer and professor at Harvard Law School. His latest book “The Case Against Impeaching Trump” argues the president has to commit a crime to be impeached — and President Trump’s actions have not been criminal.

Nadine Gonzalez is also a lawyer born in New York City and is the daughter of Haitian immigrants. She eventually moved to Miami, which became the setting for her two novels “Exclusively Yours” and “Unconditionally Mine.”

WLRN: Were you confused by Broward's ballot design? 

DAWN DAVIES: I went through the whole thing, and then I went through all the amendments. Because the amendments were bundled and confusing, I wrote them all down, and I was going through, checking, and then I realized I didn't see the Senate. Let me go back, and there it was, very down at the bottom. I missed it my first time. 

Are you confident that your vote counted? 

DAVIES: Like in a literal sense or in a theoretical sense? 

A literal sense. In this case, we're talking about, in some cases, just a few dozen, a few hundred, a few thousand votes separating these candidates. 

DAVIES: I mean, I filled it [out] correctly. I bubbled in really carefully. But I feel like my hopes have been dashed, and my faith has been lost overall in the process in Broward County.

I grew up in Broward County. I went to school in Broward County. I left for a while and then I came back. My children had the gift of being raised in Broward County. There's so many wonderful things about Broward County. It is a gift to to go to school with and work with and live next to people from so many different cultures. I mean Cuban American, Mexican American, Haitian American, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Bahamians, Jamaicans. They're all our friends, and it's wonderful.

But that's the first thing I think of when I think about county is this incredible generosity that we have. And then the first thing I think people think of it is voter fraud, election fraud, and it's sad to me. 

Nadine, what are your thoughts of this? You're a Miami-Dade County resident here. Dade County seems to have escaped scrutiny this time around. 

NADINE GONZALEZ: I'm so proud of Dade County. We did our job. We turned in our count on time, and we're not the center of the controversy. But we see what's going on, and it seems chaotic. The only reason why we see it is because margins are so close. And if that weren't the case, we wouldn't be paying attention to the flaws in the system. Maybe when the dust settles, that's what we should be focused on: how to repair the glaring mistakes that we made. 

Certainly there's a lot of arguing still to be made there. Alan Dershowitz, is there a case against the supervisor of elections remaining in office? In other words, there's been a lot of criticism heaped on the role of the supervisor of elections in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Those are elected positions. 

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I'm a proud Dade County voter too. I voted absentee, and the ballot in Dade County was, in many ways, complicated — particularly the referenda. 

But I have looked at the ballot in Broward County, and my recollection of the ballot that I saw had the two potential candidates at the very bottom of the instructions. But below them, there were candidates for the House of Representatives. The question is, was there also substantial under-voting for the House of Representatives? Or was it only for the Senate? If the House of Representatives didn't have the under-voting, then the ballot form may be to blame. 

But if both the Senate and the House had significantly fewer votes [than] for governor, then you have to ask yourself the question: [Why are] the ballots constructed that way? Here, as a loyal liberal Democrat, I'm gonna put the blame on the Democrats for this. It seems to me that Sen. Bill Nelson should've had his campaign people see that ballot and complain about it before the votes were cast.

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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.
Tom Hudson is WLRN's Senior Economics Editor and Special Correspondent.