Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election

Florida STILL Yet To Be Called

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This year was no 2000, as Barack Obama is the clear winner, but there is one rather obnoxious similarity between the two election years. That crazy state, Florida, has still not been called for either candidate.

Due to excruciatingly long lines in some of the state’s largest counties, some polling stations did not see their last voter cast his ballot until past 1 am.  At 7 pm when polling was set to officially close in Miami-Dade County, 80 percent of the polling stations were still plagued my alarmingly long lines, forcing them to remain open. This was a problem many people, including myself, anticipated given the shortened amount of allotted days for early voting, as well as the known incapacity of Florida’s polling stations to handle large numbers.

A spokeswoman for the Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections Office told the Miami Herald the 10-page ballot was to blame for the delays.  She also insisted that more poll equipment and workers were dispatched Tuesday than in 2008.

Regardless, with such late closing times at the polls, Florida elections officials have had to work overtime to count the ballots and thus have not yet been able to call a winner.  By dawn of this morning, all precincts in the state had finally finished reporting, with totals giving an edge to President Obama by just more than 46,000 votes—only about half of a percentage point.

So why, if all precincts are done reporting, have elections officials not yet called Florida?  Several counties have not yet counted their absentee ballots, which account for well over 46,000 votes. As of this morning, Miami-Dade alone had not yet counted 20,000 of its absentee ballots, Pinellas County still had to count 9,000 ballots, and several other counties must still do the same.

In all, it is estimated that 99 % of the votes have already been counted, with 1% remaining in the form of absentees.  With the current margin between the two candidates being roughly .5% of the vote, that remaining 1% uncounted could potentially swing Florida the other way.  While statistically this is pretty unlikely, it’s better safe than sorry in a state that is notorious for filing arbitrary election suits.

Officials are estimating that the final result will be announced sometime this afternoon.  Until then, please stand by….

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