The ghosts of Florida’s botched and aborted 2000 presidential election haunted the state Saturday as officials formally called for three automatic recounts to decide the next U.S. senator, governor and agriculture commissioner. Recounts were also ordered in three legislative races.
Expected since Election Day, the recounts herald a new and bitter partisan chapter in the political history of Florida — which became the ultimate but dysfunctional swing state 18 years ago when it decided the presidency by 537 votes — as Republicans leveled unfounded charges of voter fraud while Democrats revived their decades-old chant to count every vote.
Once again, a losing candidate withdrew his concession. And again South Florida elections supervisors find themselves under the national spotlight’s glare as they slowly tally votes and face credible accusations of mismanagement — with Broward County including 22 “illegal” ballots that should not have been counted and a judge rebuking Palm Beach County over the way it duplicated at least 650 ballots that were damaged when the originals were destroyed.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum on Saturday rescinded his concession to Republican Ron DeSantis in that contest.