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Not over 'til it’s over: Election supervisors stress elections not final until all votes are counted

Leon County voters use new drop boxes to cast mail in ballots early
Leon County voters use new drop boxes to cast mail in ballots early(WCTV)
Published: Nov. 2, 2020 at 5:34 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) - Florida was the laughing stock of the nation in 2000 and three statewide recounts in 2018 changed the outcome of the Agriculture Commissioner’s race.

Changes to Florida law have basically solved the problems of 20 years ago, but this election won’t be over until it’s over.

Unlike other states, votes in Florida are already being counted and have been for weeks.

By 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night, local supervisors will post the results for the nine million votes already cast.

But, as we learned in 2000, Election Day isn’t the end.

“There are no winners on election night. I don’t care what the media says. The winners are determined once we’ve counted all the votes. And it takes a lot of time to count all the votes,” said Mark Earley, Vice President of the Florida Supervisors of Elections.

Nationwide, half the states allow mail ballots to arrive after election day.

Florida does not.

Monday began with 1.3 million mail ballots still outstanding and thousands of those mail ballots were being delivered to drop boxes across the state throughout the day.

“Anything we get late in the day on Election Day, likely, we will not have a chance to get all of the signatures verified for that, so those will be in process and we’ll get to those either on Wednesday or Thursday after the election,” said Earley.

One of those mail ballots belongs to Florida’s first lady Casey DeSantis.

“I’m going to walk it in. I’m going to bring it into the voting precinct,” said DeSantis.

Voters with spoiled mail ballots have until 5 p.m. Thursday to fix a bad signature or other problem.

“Overseas military. I think those are important votes,” said Earley.

More than 103,000 mail ballots were sent to military stateside and overseas.

Totals for how many have been returned are unknown.

“If they come in, they’ve got up until ten days for us to receive their ballot,” said Earley.

Any of a handful of things can change a close race, which means this election won’t be over till it’s over.

Totals for recounts in races separated by less than a half of percent aren’t due until nine days after the election.

Final results aren’t due from the counties until the following Sunday, November 15, and Florida won’t officially certify the results until Tuesday, Nov. 17.

Copyright 2020 Capitol News Service. All rights reserved.