As Florida’s races for senator, governor and agriculture commissioner undergo recounts, David Kendall Casey, watching from Atlanta, feels even more annoyed. The 24-year-old graduate student at Georgia State University said he wanted to vote. He checked in with his local elections office in Pinellas County and believed he had ordered a mail ballot. But it never arrived. “It’s literally mathematically getting more important as it gets closer,” Casey said of his vote. He assumed his preferred candidate, Andrew Gillum, would win easily, but Gillum did not. The Democrat conceded, then didn’t, and the race between him and Republican Ron DeSantis is undergoing a machine recount. “This is exactly why I was super excited to vote this year,” Casey said. “It makes you just so despondent about the process. … That power was sort of taken away from me.”
Across counties, states and even countries, some Floridians struggled to get ballots or cast votes this election. They are not disengaged citizens, but people who wanted to participate but now feel let down by a complicated, imperfect vote-by-mail system.
They include college students, a Navy commander and out-of-state workers. Some made desperate travel — even by plane — to get back and ensure their voices were heard. But such dramatic measures were not an option for everyone.