We must count every ballot



Opinion columnist Jack Ave discusses the recent recounts in Georgia and the importance of making sure every ballot is counted.

JACK AVE, Opinion Columnist

“The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged. An honest vote count is no longer possible-ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!”

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While the 2018 United States midterm elections were held last Tuesday, Nov. 6, several highly competitive races in Georgia and Florida are still too close to call. Amongst accusations of voter suppression, long-wait lines at the polls and misplaced ballots, both Georgia and Florida face re-counts this week.

If the accusations of suppression are true, Democrats were shorthanded this election cycle. In the race for the senate in Florida, incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D) fell behind former Governor Rick Scott (R) by 0.14 percent in ballot counter late Tuesday night. With similarly close margins, in Florida’s gubernatorial election, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) also trailed Ron DeSantis (R) by 0.4 percent.

Under Florida state law, both elections are subject to a recount. With a margin of victory of only 0.25 percent, Florida’s senate race is headed to a recount by hand while a machine recount was automatically triggered the governor’s race once the margin fell below 0.5 percent.

While the recount process must be completed by this Thursday, officials have already spotted abnormalities in tallied ballots.

In Broward, the second largest county in Florida, some ballots raised red flags. Tara Golshan, a political reporter from Vox, wrote about Broward’s missing ballots on Monday. She found that, “Roughly 25,000 ballots tallied in the county had the Senate race left blank — more than almost every other statewide race on Broward ballots — and it’s a mystery why. Some have said it’s because of how the ballot is formatted, putting the Senate race on the bottom of the page under a long block of voting instructions. But a lawyer for Nelson thinks it’s a machine error that would be rectified with a hand recount.”

Additionally, activists on social media have claimed thousands of mail-in ballots were found ‘stacked inside a mail distribution center’ days after the election.

In Georgia, former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D) narrowly trailed Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) on election day by two percentage points. While Kemp declared victory, Abrams refused to concede, citing voter suppression and election tampering as the reason for her loss.

The Associated Press reported last month that Kemp, as the Secretary of State, purged over 53,000 voter registrations, 70 percent of them from black applicants, because they failed to clear an ‘exact match’ process.

According to Golshan, “The race in Georgia is a story about voter access. Kemp, who until last week was still the Secretary of State in Georgia, tasked with overseeing the elections — including his own — has been embroiled in allegations of voter suppression, scrutiny from voting rights groups.”

While the full results in Florida and Georgia are unknown, it is crucial for election officials to count every ballot. The cornerstone of our democracy is an informed public who have free and equal access to participate in politics, especially through voting. Any official that undermines this premise is betraying their duty as a servant to the public, rather than a mouthpiece for the elite.