Anyone out of diapers at the turn of the millennium remembers the month-long saga that closed the 2000 Presidential election. A major recount dispute in Florida delayed the outcome of the race between George W. Bush and Al Gore, ultimately forcing the Supreme Court to step in and effectively decide the winner. During the 2012 campaign, with the race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney neck and neck for much of the fall, there was fear that a close tally might precipitate “another Florida” and throw the electoral process into chaos.
In the end, President Obama won enough electoral votes elsewhere for Florida’s tally not to affect the result. And a good thing, too, because the final numbers didn’t come out in the Sunshine Sate for four days. On Saturday, Nov. 10, the Associated Press finally declared Obama the winner of Florida’s 29 electoral votes. But by that point, the rest of the nation had moved on. It was a bad year for Florida’s electoral procedures in general, as Gov. Rick Scott sough to purge non-citizens from the state’s voting rolls, leading to lawsuits and counter-suits by citizens who were erroneously disenfranchised. Early voting was also a mess, with people waiting in line for as long as nine hours and then there were long lines on election day as well. But since Florida did not prove decisive in 2012, the rest of the country, thankfully, could turn their focus elsewhere.
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