No One Knows Who Won Florida As Miami Tries To Count Another 20,000 Absentee Ballots

All around this great country, voters woke up this morning celebrating their state's support for Barack Obama or reveling in their red-state backing of Mitt Romney. In Florida, we woke up groggy, confused and more than a little pissed about the seven hours we waited in line. The presidential election is over and the Sunshine State still has no earthly idea who the hell we voted for.

Miami-Dade is the goat, of course. After an Election Day marred by outrageous lines, officials are still trying to tabulate 20,000 absentee ballots. An official result may not come in until later today -- and a recount might be in order. Thank God Florida didn't matter this time around.

"The reason we're still tabulating is because voters had until 7 p.m. to turn in absentee ballots and we got a large number in the final hours," Christina White, Miami-Dade's deputy supervisor of elections, tells Riptide.

Each of those ballots has to go through multiple steps before it's counted, with signatures verified and then votes scanned through a machine. With every ballot five pages long, that takes time.

"We're doing our best," White says. "Our staff worked through the night."

At the latest count, Obama was leading Romney 4,143,534 to 4,096,439, so it seems unlikely that Miami's late votes will change the overall outcome. If it does tighten the race, it may trigger a recount -- though Romney could waive it since the result won't ultimately matter.

What could matter, though, is the blowback from yesterday's election fiasco. There's little argument about who's to blame. Gov. Rick Scott purposely cut down early voting days to suppress turnout and the Republican legislature loaded the ballot with 11 lengthy amendments.

Dems are already promising to use the rancor over the huge lines against the unpopular governor.

"I think in his attempt to suppress the vote, I think he guaranteed himself the strongest opposition of his career," Mitch Ceasar, Broward's Democratic Party chair, tells Politico.

That means you, Charlie Crist!

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink