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Republicans, Democrats Agree: Let's Get Elections Right

November 14, 2018 - 2:30pm

Elections are the foundation of our democracy, and without faith in the process, our American system of government and way of life are at stake.

This year, Florida has not one, not two, but three statewide recounts in the wake of last week’s elections.
 
For me personally, as the Republican nominee for commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, election night represented the culmination of 18 months of travel and countless long weeks away from my wife and daughter.
 
While the commissioner of agriculture gets less attention than U.S. Senate or governor, the position greatly impacts all Floridians. The commissioner sits on the Florida Cabinet with the governor, making important decisions regarding our environment, veterans and fundamental rights.
 
The department oversees agriculture, Florida’s second largest industry, as well as water policy, consumer protections and Second Amendment rights. It’s a crucial post for our
economic security and constitutional liberties.
 
Last Tuesday night Floridians went to bed thinking the elections were over -- that Rick Scott won the Senate race, Ron DeSantis won the governor’s race and that I won the agriculture commissioner race.
 
But voters woke up on Wednesday to a new reality: tens of thousands of votes from Broward and Palm Beach counties greatly shrunk the margin of victory in each of these races --  counties with a reputation of incompetence and a history of breaking the law.
 
Voters around the state -- from both parties -- are rightfully angered at Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes for failing to provide clear, unambiguous answers to some very simple questions, including the key question of how many votes remained to be counted on Tuesday night; and Wednesday night; and Thursday night?
 
If the law wasn’t followed, why not? And if it was followed, then where did 80,000 extra votes come from?
 
News reports have done an excellent job of uncovering and chronicling the ongoing troubles of Snipes’ office -- not reporting data to the state in a timely fashion, not beginning the recount on time, co-mingling improperly handled ballots with legitimate votes, and the list goes on.
 
Our campaign filed suit against the Broward County Supervisor of Elections because Snipes owes all Floridians a detailed and transparent accounting of how this disaster occurred.
 
The lack of transparency or competence in the Broward supervisor’s handling of this election is astounding. We want to ensure every legal vote is counted and that we have a forensic reconstruction of when ballots were cast and how, in order to protect the integrity of Florida’s electoral process from those seeking to erode our democracy.
 
The voters and the legitimacy of our elections must be protected and a repeat of 2018 cannot happen in the 2020 presidential election.
 
As an eight-year veteran of the Florida Legislature, I know we have consistently advocated for good government and we won’t stop now. So much is at stake. This is about the future of Florida voters. This is about the future of democracy. We can’t afford to get this wrong. That’s why we’ll fight to get it right.
 
Matt Caldwell is a North Fort Myers Republican and a candidate for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

 

Comments

Maybe we should start by getting facts right. "we are not a democracy"!

Exactly Sir!!!.....“When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic.” ― Benjamin Franklin Also in 1787 when asked he replied “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.” WETHEPEOPLE have been doing a PISS POOR job of Keeping it!!!

Maybe some of us have forgotten any vote received after 7 PM on election day is not valid. That is why the number of votes received from early voting must be reported right after the polls close, that also was not done. Votes discovered that have not been cast by 7 PM also are not valid, much as we would like to count them we cannot because they have not been legally received. But just for everyone's information most people of color were Republicans prior to the new deal and in some areas could not register as Democrats.

The Florida Department of State, Division of Elections, has been in Republican control for 20 years, and it provides the money and the equipment for elections and calls the shots on all election operations. As the SOEs of the state's top two Democratic strongholds, it's no wonder Bucher and Snipes have continually been shortchanged in terms of budget, equipment, and personnel when it comes to effectuating an efficient election operation. Republican leaders have been throwing Jim Crow wrenches of one kind or another into elections for the past 150 years! Suppression of the Democratic vote is a way of life in the Republican Party, especially in the south and where there are sizeable minority populations!

lamest excuse ever

It seems to me that not only are the SOEs of Broward and Palm Beach Counties incompetent, but the voters of these counties are also incompetent.

Are you for real?

I could not agree with you more, with the exception of one caveat. There has been no reports, data, nor evidence of anything unlawful in this election or any other, None, zero, nada. Incompetence? absolutely, but there has been no evidence whatsoever, yet, of anything illegal or ethically improper. That is very important to note. However, for the most part, this is spot on. Our democracy is at stake here, and as a result, every single vote should count, no matter how long it takes. On that I am in complete agreement with this candidate, the 7-11 night manager, er building inspector Caldwell.

As a Dem I agree with your point. Let's make sure we are ready for 2020. Brenda Sniped needs to go. Everyone who legally was supposed to vote that did vote votes should be counted. Whatever the number is at the end of that count is the winner. As much as I want my choices to win I don't want that at the expense of our system. If the system is tampered with now the losing side will spend 2 years coming up with a better way to impact the system in 2020 and this will spin out of control really fast. Part of life is dealing with lose. Count the votes and be done. It is what it is.

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