Questions remain despite judge upholding recount deadlines

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By: Capitol News Service
November 15, 2018

Florida ballot recount graphic by MGN.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- Judge Mark Walker in a ruling Thursday upheld the state's deadline for reporting the results of the machine recount and hand recount.

The deadline to end the machine recount in the state has officially passed and Palm Beach County didn't finish in time, but Walker's ruling also noted no state law prevents Palm Beach County from continuing counting.

Even though Palm Beach County can continue its machine recount through Sunday, it’s not clear if the state will accept the new total in the final certified results.

Despite the barrage of news coming from the courts, a panel of political insiders met in the state’s capital city Thursday to take a look back and make sense of what’s happened so far and what it all means moving forward.

The panel, made up of gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum’s campaign adviser Kevin Cate, Republican strategist David Johnson and Democratic strategist Steve Schale, say the overtime election was likely from the get-go.

“We are just a deeply deeply divided state and that's not going to change any time soon. So, elections in the state, just as this one was, just as Trump was, just as when Obama won, are divided very much at the margins," said Schale.

Republican David Johnson says he believes the problems with the state’s election process highlighted by the close race can be fixed.

“I think we'll have a great opportunity in this legislative session to address some of those flaws," said Johnson. "I hope that we do that in a way that next time - because we're Florida, there will be a next time - that we're a little bit more prepared even more than how we were.”

In the meantime, many alleged flaws are being addressed by the courts. Schale says most rulings will likely have little impact on outcome, but others could have major consequences.

“I don't think the Palm Beach thing is going to make a difference overall," said Schale. "I think the big questions are what happens to these vote-by-mail ballots, what happens in Broward with the undervotes? Those are the big unknowns in this election between now and the end of it.”

When asked to describe the midterm election in one word, the three panelists used painful, ‘shabacle’ and most importantly, ongoing.

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