David Foster and Wayne Ford are likely victims of the great 2018 recount.
Foster is a 62-year-old Coral Springs stage designer who usually votes near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, but he was visiting Thailand a month before Election Day. He filled out his ballot and sent it via registered mail October 8. The clerk told him it would arrive in ten to 14 days. But it took more than a month and got sidetracked in an Opa-
Ford mailed his a little more than a week later in the return envelope supplied by the Miami-Dade elections office. It was returned as undeliverable.
Both men have detailed records of their transactions, particularly Foster. They will likely lose their democratic right to vote even if the recount ends up in the U.S. Supreme Court, which happened in 2000 and might happen this year.
Moreover, the recount sank into chaos this past Monday after Broward County (where Foster lives) fell far behind the rest of the state in meeting a Thursday deadline for submitting recounted votes. Multiple lawsuits have been filed by both candidates — Rick Scott and Bill Nelson — in the tight Senate race, and President Donald Trump is demanding an end to the tabulation.
"I am beyond frustrated," says Foster, a registered independent who voted an all-Democratic ticket this time around because of issues with Trump. "I know that it arrived, but it doesn't look like it will count."
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2018
Though Miami-Dade has nearly completed its ballot recount, Broward still has not begun, the Miami Herald reported this morning. A judge Monday threw out Scott's request to impound voting machine
s, while Nelson sued to count domestic mail-in votes.
By state law, votes from overseas can be counted if they arrive within ten days of the election, according to the state's website. "The overseas voter’s vote-by-mail ballot must be postmarked or dated by Election Day and received within 10 days of the election in order to be counted, provided the ballot is otherwise proper."
Broward's tardiness and the political winds make it highly unlikely Foster's vote will count. Ford, a 39-year-old from Kendall, who also voted for Nelson, is in worse shape. He's lived in Japan for a few years and has voted in "most of the major elections [and] never had a vote returned." Asked how he feels about losing his chance to cast a ballot even though he did everything correctly, he responds, "Pretty horrible, actually."
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Meanwhile, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who was out of the state Monday — perhaps campaigning for the U.S. attorney general job, for which she has been named a possible candidate — called for an investigation into voter fraud. (There has been no indication of that outside of claims by Scott and Trump, among others.)
All of this has left a particularly bad taste in Foster's mouth. He was out of the country four years ago too but says he voted by fax, which some say is technically illegal, because he was able to track down "someone in the Broward elections office," he says.
This time around, after filing his ballot, he took photos of himself dancing with marimbas in front of a Thai statue. He plans to head back to Thailand soon.
"Last summer, I decided I couldn't stomach the current presidency," he says. "I love this country, but I am really angry."