voting

A committee bill in the Florida house looking to make sweeping changes to the state’s election laws has cleared a key committee stop. A number of them would modify the state’s vote-by-mail procedure, which sparked a partisan debate about voter access.

The Supreme Court appeared sharply divided on the question of whether there's any limit on what the courts can impose on partisan redistricting, also known as gerrymandering, with Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the newest member of the court, appearing at least somewhat conflicted.

"I took some of your argument in the briefs and the amicus briefs to be that extreme partisan gerrymandering is a real problem for our democracy," Kavanaugh told the lawyers arguing the case, "and I'm not going to dispute that."

Leading up to Nov. 6, 2018, anyone with a stake in American democracy was holding their breath.

After a Russian effort leading up to 2016 to sow chaos and polarization, and to degrade confidence in American institutions, what sort of widespread cyberattack awaited the voting system in the first national election since?

None, it seems.

broward county elections
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

Many Broward County voters are not confident in their elections office.

The drama following the November election put three close statewide races - and Broward's reputation - in the national spotlight. And weeks after midterm recounts ended, voters continue to ask what went wrong. 

Holly Pretsky / WLRN

Florida officials don’t have a plan for how to carry out a constitutional amendment that restores the right to vote to more than a million Floridians convicted of felonies, state Division of Elections director Maria Matthews told county elections supervisors Tuesday.

Associated Press

Floridians will vote in future elections under the shadow of this year’s recount drama.

 

It used to be you would sign on the bottom line, whether it was a check or a credit card receipt or even a love letter. But the art of the signature has become less important and less practiced, and that has meant less certainty for elections officials in several states who are still counting votes from the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

Those officials are trying verify that the signatures required on mail-in, provisional, absentee and military ballots match the signature that voters have on file with the board of elections.

Judge: Florida Election Problems Make It A 'Laughingstock'

Nov 15, 2018
Associated Press

A federal judge slammed Florida on Thursday for repeatedly failing to anticipate election problems and said the state law on recounts appears to violate the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that decided the presidency in 2000.

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker also rejected a request to extend the deadline later in the day for all of the state's counties to submit the results of a machine recount.

"We have been the laughingstock of the world, election after election, and we chose not to fix this," Walker said in court.

Siding with U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s campaign and national Democrats, a federal judge early Thursday gave voters until 5 p.m. Saturday to fix ballots that were rejected because of mismatched signatures.

Florida’s military and overseas citizens vote-by-mail ballots are being accepted at Supervisors of Elections Offices across the state through Friday, but it’s unlikely they’ll change the outcome of any contested races currently under recount.

The man accused of gunning down 17 people at a Florida high school registered to vote while behind bars awaiting trial.

About 150 Florida Hurricane Victims Voted By Email. That’s Not Allowed.

Nov 12, 2018
News Herald/AP via Miami Herald

After Hurricane Michael devastated the Florida Panhandle in October, the top elections official in Bay County allowed about 150 displaced voters to cast ballots by email, even though there is no provision that allows for it in state law.

Bay County Supervisor of Elections Mark Andersen defended that decision vigorously Monday, noting the mass devastation that rocked the coastal county one month ago.

Want to feel old? Consider the fact that babies who were crying in cribs while their parents agonized over Florida's protracted presidential recount in 2000 are now of voting age.

Eighteen years is a long time. Even so, when we think of that time, many of us conjure up memories as sharp as barbed wire, roll our eyes or sigh out loud when anyone mentions "Florida 2000."

That phrase is being invoked a lot in light of this year's ultra-tight Florida statewide elections.

Democrats will take control of the U.S. House in January with big items topping their legislative to-do list: Remove obstacles to voting, close loopholes in government ethics law and reduce the influence of political money.

Party leaders say the first legislative vote in the House will come on H.R. 1, a magnum opus of provisions that Democrats believe will strengthen U.S. democratic institutions and traditions.

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