Yep, 58,000 postal votes in Florida have disappeared. That’s FIFTY-EIGHT THOUSAND. In a state which was won in 2000 by just 537 votes.
The US postal service inspectorate has said they find it “highly unlikely” that so many could simply get lost. Even if it was Royal Mail in charge, it would indeed seem well-nigh impossible for such a glut of post to simply vanish.
But Florida is accepting no blame:
“The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said it investigated and found no criminal violations.
“The county blamed the U.S. Postal Service. ‘That is something beyond our control,’ Deputy Supervisor of Elections Gisela Salas said. ‘We really have no idea what’s going on.'”
Well THAT’s reassuring for all those who posted their absentee ballots on October 7th-8th (the dates from which the post has gone).
So Florida is scrambling to replace the missing ballotts in time. In Broward County, 78,000 new ballots have been sent out: only 50,800 of the requested 127,320 absentee votes in the county have been returned.
The whole thing is naturally leading to suspicions of electoral fraud:
“Did Karl Rove hire Charles Colson and G. Gordon Liddy to break into the Fort Lauderdale post office?
“Did Jeb Bush bring in Oliver North and Fawn Hall with paper-shredders in the middle of the night?
“Did Tillie Tooter drive them into a canal? Did Sheriff Ken Jenne make them exceptionally disappear? Did Col. Mustard lock them in a cabinet in the drawing room?
“No one has a clue.”
But this isn’t all – the wonder that is the president’s brother, Governor Jeb Bush of Florida, has formally given his backing to Republican voter-challenging tactics, stating that “I don’t think it will cause problems… I do think that people who are not eligible to vote shouldn’t and the people who are should.” The Democrats are unsurprisingly not amused: “It’s despicable… Their goal is to harass people enough that they’ll give up their right to vote or not go to the polls.”
“‘We made sure we are prepared for ugly tactics,’ said Christine Anderson, spokeswoman for the combined Democratic campaign. ‘It seems to us the Republicans are making a very proactive and blatant strategy to discourage turnout and deny citizens the right to vote.'”
More Florida fun:
- In Pinellas County, officials acknowledged that nearly 300 St. Petersburg voters received absentee ballots that were missing the second of two pages.
- Long lines at early voting precincts were reported throughout the Tampa Bay area and the state. Hillsborough reported 43,000 early voters as of Tuesday. Early voters in Pinellas reported lines of more than two hours in some locations.
- There have been reports of illegal campaigning at early voting sites.
- Computers used to check voter registrations were slow or malfunctioning in Broward, Duval and Hillsborough counties. On Tuesday, Hillsborough County’s registration network went down for about 30 minutes.
The delight of this, of course, is that no matter what the outcome of this election, the next president of the United States is going to have to live with the same cloud hanging over him as Bush has for the last four years – the suspicion of the losing side that he was not duly elected.
Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat matters not a jot: this whole shebang is not healthy for democracy, and is not healthy for America.