With election workers in most of Florida’s 67 counties wrapping up their recounts on Sunday, Palm Beach was preparing to continue counting votes past Thanksgiving — and possibly Christmas.
Even by Florida standards, where the mid-terms have dragged on for nearly two weeks after Election Day, Palm Beach has distinguished itself by drawing out the drama even longer. Decade-old ballot-counting machines only capable of recounting one race at a time have malfunctioned, lawsuits have flown, the canvassing board has struggled to keep up with court orders, and an employee reportedly jammed a paper clip into a high-speed scanner, possibly causing a short circuit that cut off the power. At one point during the chaos, Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher told reporters she was “in prayer mode” to finish by the state deadline.
At times, said volunteer election observer Karyn Macy, it was hard to tell if the recount had stopped because of a problem with the equipment or because of a court order. “Stop, stop, machines. Stop, stop, stop, we have to wait for a court order, we’re waiting for an appeal,” she said, describing the rapid-fire instructions given to observers and election workers. “It’s like the planets were aligned to make sure this recount was not possible in time.”
On Saturday night, Bucher finally accepted defeat.
“What we’re asked to do is recreate two to three weeks of work in a couple of days,” said Bucher, who had spent several nights over the past week sleeping on a cot in a corner of the county’s tabulation center, a windowless warehouse in Riviera Beach. “I’ve been trying to change the deadlines for about 10 years.”
Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald.