It’s recount time again.
Sure, Florida might not be the focus of the nation in terms of deciding the next president, but the state has an aversion to – as well as a strong desire for – elections in which the winner is clearly decided. The recent midterm elections were no different.
This time, the question is about who won the U.S. House of Representatives seat vacated by Katherine Harris. Upon first count, Republican Vern Buchanan narrowly won by 373 votes – less than 0.2 percent of the vote, according to the Associated Press. In true Florida style, the vote will be recounted today.
Not only that, but “state officials will begin auditing Sarasota County touch-screen voting machines which reported more than 18,000 people did not cast a vote for Buchanan or Jennings, but did make choices in other races,” according to the AP story.
County elections supervisor Kathy Dent has assured the press that the elections were fair and accurate. Vern Buchanan is also understandably “confident” that “the recount and the audit will confirm that this election was fair and accurately reflected the will of the voters.”
Unfortunately for both of them, Democrat Christine Jennings has not conceded defeat. Jennings even flew to Washington on Sunday because, according to Jennings’ campaign spokeswoman Kathy Vermazen, “The voters need to have someone that can hit the ground running once the recount is resolved.”
Coincidentally, Harris entered the national spotlight when she, as Florida’s secretary of state, certified the vote count that put George W. Bush into office in an election still viewed as questionable by many. It’s now imaginable that the seat Harris held in the House will put another thorn into the side of Florida’s electoral process. Reminiscent of what happened in the 2000 elections, the seat Harris vacated is apparently providing Florida with a problem it not only doesn’t want, but also is extremely frustrated with.
With less than 0.2 percent of the vote going against her, Jennings is entitled to a recount. It’s difficult to argue that, provided the recount was wrong, it should not be fixed merely because it makes Florida feel better to have a smooth election. It would be nice, however.
Just for once, elections in Florida almost went smoothly. Just for once, elections in Florida were almost easy, lucky and fine. Without condemning Jennings for her actions – a recount is her legal privilege, after all – the fact remains that Florida doesn’t need, want or deserve this trouble.