President Obama was re-elected Tuesday. Mitt Romney’s campaign conceded defeat in Florida on Thursday. And a few indefatigable politicians are already planning on making pit stops in Iowa. But in Florida, time stood still — until Saturday. After days of counting absentee ballots, the official results are in, at last: To the surprise of no one, Mr. Obama narrowly beat out his Republican rival 50 percent to 49.1 percent, a difference of about 74,000 votes. The state is consumed by finger-pointing and finger-wagging as election officials, lawmakers and voters try to make sense of what went wrong on Election Day and during early voting. A record number of Florida voters — 8.4 million, or 70 percent of those registered — cast ballots. Of those, 2.1 million people voted early, and 2.4 million sent absentee ballots.
Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, said he planned to meet with the state’s top election official, Ken Detzner, the secretary of state, to see how Florida could improve the process. And the mayor of Miami-Dade County, where voters endured the state’s longest lines, has formed a task force to find out what went wrong.
“We could have done better; we will do better,” Mr. Detzner told CNN on Friday.
In some cities, voters waited as long as seven hours to vote on both Election Day and the eight days of early voting before it. While precincts in one area were nearly empty, others were overrun. In Miami-Dade, the last people to vote actually did so on Wednesday morning, two hours after President Obama was declared the winner and following Mr. Romney’s concession speech.
A few counties also grappled with a larger than usual number of absentee ballots, including a wave delivered at the last minute. The late crush of absentee ballots came after election officials, under pressure from a Democratic Party lawsuit, opted to allow voters to cast absentee ballots in person on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Miami-Dade County received about 54,000 absentee ballots in the final days, which slowed the counting process considerably, the local election supervisor said.