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COLUMN

Happytown: A requieum for a Twinkie, more on elections aftermath

Hostess goes out of business and takes 280 Orlando jobs with it, Gov. Rick Scott demands some answers about who made this elections mess, the final tallies on the amendment votes

Photo: , License: N/A

Photo: , License: N/A


Florida's 2012 election fiasco – characterized by old people with oxygen tanks standing in line for hours for a chance to cast their ballots in a voting abacus-machine – has elicited more than a few eyerolls of regret among those charged with explaining the mess. Immediately following the Nov. 6 exercise in democracy, the state's supervisors of elections were scrambling to justify faulty absentee ballots, razor-thin margin recounts, "provisional" ballot nightmares and the appearance of being callous enough to force the masses to exhaust themselves standing in those long lines.

So once again, we become a national joke – only this time without a meaningful punch line. Thanks for nothing, turkeys!

And so it was that on Nov. 14, Gov. Rick Scott's press machine launched into reformative action with a media release announcing, without so much as a po-faced apology, that the state was going to take this whole thing much more seriously upon review.

"I have asked [Florida Secretary of State Ken] Detzner to meet most immediately with those election supervisors who experienced lines in excess of four hours and those who took several days to tabulate votes and report results," Scott is quoted most officially as saying. "Floridians should not have to wait several days for the results of a major presidential election to be tabulated because of the delays in a few counties when the majority of counties – including major metropolitan areas – have been counted."

See what he did there? Somewhere, a messenger was just killed. You'll recall that Scott was the man behind pushing HB 1355, the loveable suffrage bundle that urged the purge and cut early voting (among other obscenities) in 2011, falling directly in line with other national Republican efforts to make voting a dreadful option. Some were expecting the post-haze announcement to address these issues, and even correct them. Two days prior to the governor's missive, coalitions of groups including the AFL-CIO, the League of Women Voters of Florida and Florida New Majority Education Fund were making noise about how fucked up the whole logjam had become.

"It's increasingly coming out that this was not just a case of misadministration or bad management," Florida New Majority executive director Gihan Perera said, according to the Palm Beach Post.

So, that "most immediate" meeting with county supervisors did happen (in a closed-to-the-public fashion, natch), and guess what? Nobody blinked. The Miami Herald reports that culpability from the state was not on the menu Wednesday. Instead, Detzner – meeting with precinct leaders from rural areas that don't really matter, because they are the leaders of the state association – brainstormed some malleable pith about how to look like the state really cared. Specifically, the group thought county supervisors should have more leeway in their choice of early voting sites. Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles, who was not in attendance, says that "location, location, location" is actually an issue, because a lot of libraries aren't equipped to handle masses of people, so there's that. Also, hilariously, the group concluded that the ballots shouldn't be so damn long. In other news, didn't we just reap the fruits of reducing democracy? Just a thought.

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