November 03, 2014

Be patient: Vote counting in Miami-Dade, Broward is labor intensive

@PatriciaMazzei

The anxious wait for election results begins when the polls close at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Open web browser. Find results page. Click “refresh.” Again. And again. And again.

Sometimes the waits in Miami-Dade and Broward counties extend well past 10 o’clock. Why, the restless ask, aren’t the numbers posted any faster?

Because counting votes, at least in Florida’s two most populated counties, turns out to be quite labor intensive.

“Even though voting itself is electronic, the actual process of gathering it all, people have to do it,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who appoints his county’s elections supervisor.

During the low-turnout Aug. 26 primary, the majority of results from Election Day voting in Broward didn’t post until after 9 p.m. Miami-Dade didn’t post its final tallies until around 11 p.m.

In 2012, a problem with Miami-Dade’s only absentee-ballot sorting machine contributed to slow counting in the high-turnout presidential election, which had already been delayed by late precinct closures due to long voting lines. Since then, the county has purchased a new sorting machine to scan more ballots more quickly.

More here.

Hillary Clinton machine: Don't release recording of robocall for Miami Rep. Joe Garcia

@PatriciaMazzei

President Barack Obama recorded a robocall for Miami Rep. Joe Garcia last week. Vice President Joe Biden came to stump for him Sunday.

Now likely Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has recorded a call for Garcia. It went out to targeted voters in Congressional District 26 on Monday morning.

But Garcia's campaign won't make the recording available to reporters -- because Clinton's people won't let them. That's according to Garcia campaign consultant John Hennelly.

So we can't tell you what the call said.

We can, however, point out that Clinton's people also kicked reporters out of the lobby of the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables last month when she was there fundraising for Charlie Crist, Florida's Democratic nominee for governor. No reporters were allowed at a book-signing event the same day, and Clinton took only pre-screened questions at a speech to the real-estate industry.

Democrats like Crist and Garcia, running in tight races in the nation's largest swing state, want Democratic voters to see them with people like Clinton. It could turn out more of their base to cast ballots in Tuesday's midterms, which usually draw more Republican than Democratic voters.

But that's apparently not the Clinton way. And campaigns appear more interested in remaining in Clinton's good graces than using her endorsement to win their own races.

Crist and Taddeo travel through the heart of their base on final day

By Kathryn Varn and Amy Sherman

Crist and Taddeo in MiamiCharlie Crist and running mate Annette Taddeo launched a day-long bus tour through the heart of their base on Monday beginning with a get out the vote rally in the minority-rich communities of Allapattah and Lauderdale Lakes. 

“Looks like it’s going to be tight,” Crist said, stepping off his tour bus to about 100 supporters at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Hall in Miami Dade County. “But it’s going to be good.”

Joining them were Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, whose organization has been an important financial supporter.

Crist greeted fans and campaign staff by name as he made his way to a small room in the International Brotherhood hall.

“Did you vote?” he asked one woman while hugging and shaking hands.

“I voted the first day!” she said.

Supporters showed up at the site about an hour before Crist did, holding signs: “African Americans for Charlie.” “Hispanics for Charlie.” “Women choose Charlie.”

A pickup truck decorated with American flags and a Rick Scott banner crawled around the block, blaring Spanish music as the driver stuck a peace sign out the window.

Crist supporters booed while a group of about 30 Scott backers cheered the truck on, including Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera.

“Rick Scott… he’s not a smooth politician, but he’s a guy that’s delivered results,” Lopez-Cantera said. “I find it disingenuous for Charlie to come back and criticize the tough decisions Rick Scott made when he didn’t even want to make them himself.”

Continue reading "Crist and Taddeo travel through the heart of their base on final day" »

U.S. Supreme Court will hear 'water wars' lawsuit

The U.S. Supreme Court will take up Florida's lawsuit against Georgia over its "unchecked" use of the water that flows between the two states, Gov. Rick Scott announced Monday.

Scott called the development "huge news and a major victory for Florida."

"The Supreme Court takes up so few cases, and their willingness to hear Florida's demonstrates the merits of our case before the court," the governor said in a statement. "We are fighting for the future of this region, and we won't quit until these resources are restored."

Scott first announced the lawsuit in August 2013. The legal action aims to "stop Georgia's unchecked consumption of water that threatens the existence of Apalachicola fisheries and the future economic development of this region."

Attorney General Pam Bondi on Monday said her office looks forward to continuing the fight.

 "Georgia has delayed long enough, and this lawsuit is essential to protect Florida from the environmental and economic harms caused by Georgia’s over-consumption of water," she said in a statement.

Miami-Dade mayor thinking of leaving GOP still plans to vote for Florida Gov. Rick Scott

@PatriciaMazzei

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez caused a stir among Republicans when he said last week he's considering leaving the party to become an independent.

But he still plans to vote for Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday, the mayor said Monday.

"Ive seen him work trying to bring jobs to Florida. Every time that I've called the governor, he's been very helpful for us here in South Florida," Gimenez told the Miami Herald in an interview. "And while he didn't get my vote in 2010, he's earned by vote this time around."

Gimenez, who said he voted for Democrat Alex Sink in 2010, helped raise campaign money for the governor earlier this year. But a public endorsement discussed behind the scenes never happened. The mayor's position is nonpartisan.

Elsewhere on the ballot, Gimenez said he plans to vote against a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana. "While I'm in favor of marijuana for medicinal purposes, I think this amendment is a little too loose" with its language, he said.

He intends to vote for another constitutional amendment to preserve threatened lands, though he said he is concerned paying for the parcels might lead to less state funding for affordable housing. Both conservation and housing rely on funds raised through documentary stamp taxes.

Gimenez also said he's been pleased with how the election has gone so far in Miami-Dade. Long lines two years ago prompted Gimenez to form an elections advisory group to improve the process.

"There were some lines yesterday, when you had busloads of people being dropped off at the early voting sites at the same time, but I don't think they were longer than an hour, which is what we said we wanted to do," he said. "I expect a smooth Election Day. I expect the votes to be tallied in a timely fashion."

FSU student group to protest Thrasher presidency

A Florida State student group will spend Monday protesting Republican state Sen. John Thrasher's appointment to university's top job.

FSU's Board of Trustees tapped Thrasher to lead the university in September. 

But the student group, known as the FSU Progress Coalition, is demanding the state Board of Governors reject Thrasher's appointment when it meets Wednesday in Boca Raton. The students say a Thrasher appointment presidency would put FSU in the hands of corporate interests and the billionaire libertarian Koch brothers.

"John Thrasher is three-time Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Legislator of the Year who has been cited twice for ethics violations, lied to students and faculty about his Koch funding, and supported legislation that defunds education in the state of Florida and supports the school-to-prison pipeline," the group wrote in a press release Monday. "He has no academic background and a legacy of supporting structural racism, homophobia and anti-environmental policies that point directly to his political ties with corporate industry as a whole and Koch in particular."

Thrasher has denied having ties to the Koch brothers, saying he wouldn't recognize Charles and David Koch if they walked into a room.

Students, faculty, alumni and community members are planning to gather on campus at 2:30 p.m. and march to the Old Capitol to "push back against the corporatization of education at FSU and in the nation as a whole."

The event is part of a larger "day of action" taking place at nearly 30 universities across the country, the organizers said.

Souls to the Polls gives Dems major boost, close early vote gap to 100k

@MarcACaputo

Looks like Souls to the Polls was a success after all.*

In just one day of early in-person voting, Democrats took a major bite out of the GOP's pre-Election Day ballot lead, which now stands at slightly more than 100,000. That's an improvement of more than 26,000 ballots in Democrats' favor.

As of this afternoon, the GOP's margin over Democrats was 100,583, or 3.3 percentage points. Yesterday, after all the data was uploaded to the state's system, the GOP lead was 126,652, or 4.3 percentage points.

So the answer to the question about whether Souls to the Polls was a boom or bust for Crist is clear: It's a boom. As more evidence of that, Gov. Rick Scott's campaign issued another early vote memo that failed to mention the mammoth Democratic gains.

Nevertheless, a 100,000-vote margin is big. But with an advantage of more than 455,000 registered voters over Republicans, Democrats can make up that margin on Election Day. The big question: Will they?

Here are the numbers:

PARTY          EV           %
REP         518,499 39.6%
DEM         555,473 42.4%
IND         235,226 18.0%
TOTAL       1,309,198  
     
     
PARTY          AB's            %
REP         785,928 45.1%
DEM         648,371 37.2%
IND         308,360 17.7%
TOTAL       1,742,659  
     
     
PARTY       EVAB            %
REP       1,304,427 42.7%
DEM       1,203,844 39.4%
IND         543,586 17.8%
TOTAL       3,051,857  

This post has been updated with final numbers from the 67 election supervisors. 

St. Pete Polls: Charlie Crist and Rick Scott tied at 45%

@MarcACaputo

St. Pete Polls, a robo-polling firm from (of all places) St. Petersburg, releases this morning's Goldilocks poll.

GOP-leaning 0ptimus finds the race for governor tied, but leaning 2 points in Gov. Rick Scott's favor.

Quinnipiac University finds the race for governor tied, but leaning 1 point in Democrat Charlie Crist's favor

And St. Pete Polls shows Scott and Crist basically tied at 45 percent. By decimal point, it's Crist 44.9 percent and Scott 44.6 percent. Those toplines are remarkably similar to Public Policy Polling's survey yesterday.

Download St. Pete Poll

 

0ptimus FL poll: Rick Scott 43%, Charlie Crist 41%; Wyllie 10%

@MarcACaputo

Don't like this morning's Quinnipiac University poll showing Democrat Charlie Crist ahead of Gov. Rick Scott by an inside-the-error-margin amount of 1 percentage point?

Then check out 0ptimus, a GOP-leaning firm that released its latest robo-poll survey showing Scott leading Crist by an inside-the-error-margin amount of 2 percentage points.

Takeaway: Both polls show a tie. Other polls show a tie. It's probably a tie and, gulp, this election will be won or lost by turnout on Election Day. Now how cliche is that?

Click our Polls tab for more on, well, polls. And here's 0ptimus' analysis:

Continue reading "0ptimus FL poll: Rick Scott 43%, Charlie Crist 41%; Wyllie 10%" »

Q Poll: Charlie Crist 42%, Rick Scott 41%, Wyllie (7%) draws more from Crist

@MarcACaputo

Yup, it's still tied.

Quinnipiac University this morning released a pre-Election Day poll showing Democrat Charlie Crist nursing a 1 percentage point lead over Gov. Rick Scott -- making the race basically a dead heat. Quinnipiac didn't include its poll demographics in its press release. So all you polling unskewers will have to wait.

Here's the press release:

Continue reading "Q Poll: Charlie Crist 42%, Rick Scott 41%, Wyllie (7%) draws more from Crist" »