Whoever said that history repeats itself clearly lived through the 2000 presidential election. The election made history, as the vote between then-Vice President Al Gore and Texas Governor George W. Bush was so close, the entire presidency came down to just one state: Florida.
A huge battle ensued, with Democrats fighting to have votes counted and Republicans demanding that Gore concede the race to Bush. The Florida Supreme Court got involved and the partisan politics went out of control.
And now, the whole thing is re-playing again, as the Senate race in Florida remains undecided.
On Friday, three days after Americans went to the polls to cast their votes for the midterms, Democrats are demanding that every vote in Florida be counted.
Republicans are using rhetoric in an attempt to prevent that, screaming that election officials are manipulating the election results.
There are votes in Broward County that haven’t been counted. The Democrat-heavy county is crucial to liberals, and it is potential Kryptonite to the GOP. The votes still being counted in Broward have eroded at Republican Rick Scott’s lead in the Senate race, much as the Democratic votes in Broward County threatened George W. Bush’s bid for the presidency 18 years ago.
All of those votes were never actually counted. Al Gore did eventually concede to Bush, who went on to become a two-term president.
As the margin narrows, it’s expected than an automatic recount will be triggered. This could begin as early as Saturday, unless the Republicans file a legal motion to stop it, which is what happened in the 2000 race.
If history continues to play out the same way, the results of the Senate race won’t be known for another month. And when they are, Rick Scott will emerge from the dust as a winner.
Donald Trump, current president and de facto leader of the Republican party, is already crying foul.
“Rick Scott was up by 50,000+ votes on Election Day, now they ‘found’ many votes and he is only up 15,000 votes,” he tweeted Friday, according to the Washington Post. “‘The Broward Effect.’ How come they never find Republican votes?”
Broward County is largely Democratic. It would be hard to find a lot of Republican votes in that particular county in Florida. However, many other counties in Florida have plenty of them to show Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, protesters are lining up outside the county’s election offices.
“This is like deja vu,” said William Scherer. He is an attorney currently representing Rick Scott. He also worked for George W. Bush in the 2000 election.
And, like the year 2000, both candidates have now filed lawsuits. Scott claims Broward and Palm Beach Counties are committing fraud. It is not a coincidence that these are the two bluest counties in Florida. This is where Scott stands to lose a lot of ground, and possibly the whole election.
Meanwhile, the Democratic incumbent in the Senate, Bill Nelson, wants the votes counted and wants provisional and absentee votes examined when the signatures on the ballots don’t match registration records.
In yet another eerie parallel of 2000, reports from voters are flooding election officers. They say their ballots were rejected.
Scott, who is the current governor of the state, held a press conference from the Governor’s Mansion Thursday to announce that he’s suing the officials in Broward County, who are ultimately his employees, after a fashion, according to the Daily Beast.
As of Friday afternoon, Rick Scott was hanging onto a narrow margin of 16,000 votes ahead of Nelson.
He says there is “rampant fraud,” and has called for law enforcement to investigate election practices, according to the Huffington Post.
Florida law says that a statewide machine recount must be conducted when the margin of victory is less than 0.5 percent. A manual recount is issued when the margin is less than 0.25 percent. Right now, the margin is 0.19 percent.