Before I write anything else, let me say that today I’m proud to be a Floridian, a Miamian. I am humbled to have seen the thousands of people who showed up to vote and who would not allow their voices to be silenced, their votes to be suppressed. I am grateful to them and for them.
But I when I look at the nation’s map and I see that Florida still hasn’t been called, that it remains the only state not yet colored red or blue, I am reminded of the 2000 Presidential election. I am taken back to the nightmare that I and millions of Americans lived through back then and I can’t believe that in 12 years, Florida’s Presidential election process has not evolved. I am thinking that a more appropriate nickname for The Sunshine State might be The Messed-Up State.
If, as in 2000, this would have been a tighter race, we might be living through a similar 2000 scenario. Three Republicans: Jeb Bush (1999-2007), Charlie Crist (2007-2011) and Rick Scott (2011-Present) have governed the state since 2000 and none of them has fixed Florida election problems. Why? Has it been because of budget restrictions, a low priority, or a deliberate GOP strategy? In the afterglow of an Obama victory, I would have liked to have given all three Governors the benefit of the doubt. But the facts do not allow me to give it to current Governor Rick Scott who, as I wrote in my previous post Florida: 2000 Election Redux?, is a voter-roll purger who in 2011 succeeded in reducing early voting from 14 to 8 days.
Florida is a living testament that we cannot leave some decisions to individual states. A national, presidential election must give all states the opportunity for its citizens to vote easily and to have their votes counted quickly and competently. Furthermore, we must strive for a secure, national electronic election process. Why is it that we can transfer money sitting on our living room couches, yet most of us cannot cast our votes online? This is an issue of national importance that must be addressed.
But getting back to Florida, we will have to wait until November 7th, much later than any other state to color it in. So far, it seems that it will be blue and I will be extremely happy about this. To have Florida go for President Obama in 2008 and 2012 almost makes up for 2000 and 2004. I also have a selfish reason for wanting this. For a few days, I’ve been predicting an Obama win in Florida based on a gut feeling, even though the polls were showing a Romney advantage. I want to maintain the high success rate I have with my gut.
However, as happy as a blue Florida will make me, I will be even happier the day that Florida’s election system joins the rest of the nation’s. Let’s hope that will happen before the next Presidential election.
Author’s Note: It took 4 days for Florida to be called for President Barack Obama on November 10th.