Mounting tension – the case of the Florida’s election recount
The mid-term elections certainly proved to be a hard and closely fought battle between the Republicans and Democrats across the country.
With the whole House of Representatives, a third of Senate seats and numerous state governorships up for election, there was a lot at stake. Florida’s Senate and governor elections once again attracted publicity for the hard-fought and sometimes bitter campaign on both sides, which concluded with extremely close winning margins for Republicans, triggering recounts.
In the closely contested Senate race, current incumbent governor of Florida, Rick Scott (Republican), stood against Bill Nelson(Democrat), who was an incumbent of that Senate seat. The election was hard-fought on both sides right until election day, as polls suggested it was a toss-up and could come down to a small winning margin on either side. Indeed it was incredibly close, out of the 8 million votes cast, 13,000 votes stood between them. Rick Scott has a slight lead, this small edge calls for a recount, due to the margin of error that could possibly occur.
Similarly, the other contested election was Florida’s state governorship between the Democrat's nominee Andrew Gillum and the Republican's Ron DeSantis. The campaign was bitter and divisive at times, with DeSantis accused of using racist slurs to further appeal to his core base. With polls suggesting a close result going into election day, it was evident that every vote mattered and the race was set to a close finish. After all results were in, just 70,000 votes separated DeSantis and Gillum, with the Republican in front.
The outcomes of the election according to state law, require a recount to take place since the winning margins in all three contests are under .5%. Many criticisms have surfaced surrounding the recounts - however, this is Florida law which has been in place long before the election. There have been accusations on both sides of possible tampering, which has further exacerbated the focus surrounding Florida, and how it conducts its elections especially after the infamous 2000 Presidential election between George Bush and Al Gore which hung on the results of Florida and the court battles that followed.
President Trump has said that there is an attempt to add extra votes and corrupt ballots in order to force a recount and then elect the two Democrat candidates as winners of the elections. This is perhaps a misleading position for a President to take when a recount is about to begin, as it leads people to believe that due process and all legal aspects are to be followed in this circumstance.
The use of rhetoric, like accusing the opposing party of attempting to steal an election, when all votes have to be recounted (as is decreed by state law), is seen as a smear tactic conducted by Trump on the two Democrat hopefuls, who are seeking a legitimate election. The public must press for free and fair elections. When accusations of corruption gain traction, without any credible evidence to back it up, they must always be challenged.