Maine lawyers Benjamin Grant and Joshua Tardy are used to being holed up together. For at least eight hours a day over the past week, they’ve rubbed shoulders in a cramped conference room in Augusta, overseeing the hand recount of the nearly 300,000 ballots cast in Maine’s 2nd District. “We’re like Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner,” Tardy joked. “You gotta have each other.” Grant, a Democrat, and Tardy, a Republican, have handled most of the state House and Senate recounts in the Pine Tree State for the past decade. GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin requested the recount of the 2nd District after losing to Democrat Jared Golden last month under the new ranked-choice voting system. The mechanics of this recount are slightly different, but the intimacy of the process — with opposing campaigns examining paper ballots side by side — is similar to what happens across the country when the counting, for one reason or another, must begin anew.
The Democrat who lost a recount by one vote in a contested Alaska House race said Wednesday she will challenge the results. Kathryn Dodge said she disagreed with decisions the Division of Elections made on some ballots and will file required paperwork with the Alaska Supreme Court. A recount, held Friday in the Fairbanks race, showed Republican Bart LeBon winning by one vote. During the recount, Dodge picked up another vote, while LeBon picked up two. “This race has gone back and forth, favoring me and my opponent at one time or another during a lengthy process,” Dodge said in a statement. “I believe that it is important to follow the process through so that absolutely no doubt remains about this incredibly close result.”
Maine: Long recount could leave Maine’s 2nd District seat vacant when Congress begins new term | Central Maine
The recount that began Thursday in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District race could leave the seat vacant and the district without representation when Congress convenes in January. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and a Republican House staff member involved in the seating decision issued conflicting opinions on the matter Thursday, making it uncertain whether Maine will have a 2nd District representative if the recount isn’t completed before new members of Congress are sworn in Jan. 3. Workers from the Maine Secretary of State’s Office gathered in a converted conference room Thursday and started the arduous task of hand-counting the 300,000 ballots cast in the election, which saw Democratic challenger Jared Golden beat incumbent Republican Bruce Poliquin by about 3,500 votes. Poliquin asked for the recount on Nov. 26 after Golden was declared the winner. Poliquin also has filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the ranked-choice voting system.
The lengthy town-by-town recount of nearly 300,000 ballots cast in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District race will begin Thursday morning, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin requested the recount after a tabulation of the ballots using Maine’s ranked-choice voting system showed him trailing Democrat Jared Golden by 3,509 votes. Poliquin is also challenging the constitutionality of ranked-choice voting in court. The recount is expected to take as long as four weeks as teams from the two campaigns hand-count each ballot in every municipality, setting aside any disputed ballots. The process is repeated for each round of ranked-choice voting as the teams tabulate the second- and third-choice preferences of voters whose candidates were eliminated from contention.
As Florida suffered through nearly two weeks of election counts and recounts, the scale of the vote-tallying woes in some places became painfully evident. Three of Florida’s four largest counties — Broward, Palm Beach and Hillsborough — admitted to problems in their machine recounts so troubling that they either failed or refused to submit results by the state’s deadline. And little wonder. During the statewide machine recount, the number of votes counted in the Senate race in Broward County was 3,500 less than the initial tally. Among the culprits: the county elections office’s accidental omission of 2,000 early-voting ballots in the machine recount. In Palm Beach, elections officials conducting the recount found “dozens of precincts missing a significant number” of votes, something that county Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher blamed on malfunctioning vote-counting machines. That prompted a time-consuming redo, which Bucher said caused her office to fail to meet the deadline for the Senate race. Saddled with tabulating machines that could not recount more than one race at a time, she did not even begin the recount for the other races, making hers the only office in Florida to fail to complete its machine recount in the five days allowed.
Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin asked Monday for a recount in the 2nd Congressional District race he lost narrowly to Jared Golden, the Lewiston Democrat. Later in the day, Golden said, “Dragging this process out only hurts the people we were elected to serve.” Golden said in a prepared statement Poliquin is “within his rights to pay for a recount,” but is unlikely to prevail. … “Furthermore, we have become aware that the computer software and ‘black box’ voting system utilized by the secretary of state is secret,” he said. “No one is able to review the software or computer algorithm used by a computer to determine elections. This artificial intelligence is not transparent.” Dunlap scoffed at the secrecy argument. He said Poliquin’s campaign asked about the software used to count the ballots and was told the state had to keep details confidential for security purposes. “You don’t put something like that out there for hackers to use,” Dunlap said.
Florida: Recount did not alter outcome of Senate race, but it set the rules of engagement for 2020 | The Washington Post
Two days after Election Day, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) got a call from President Trump’s reelection campaign manager: Get to Broward County, Florida’s Democratic stronghold, where officials were still tallying ballots in a tight U.S. Senate race. Around the same time, Marc Elias, a top Democratic Party lawyer who was general counsel to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, was preparing to fly to Florida to lead a likely recount in that contest. Over the next eight days, armies of lawyers and party operatives swarmed the state as elections officials undertook a laborious recount of the Senate vote and two other statewide elections, racing into courtrooms and onto the airwaves and social media to jockey over every ballot. In the end, the exhausting fight did little to change Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s lead over Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who conceded in a phone call to his GOP rival Sunday. But there was much more at stake in the nation’s biggest presidential swing state: the rules of engagement for 2020.
An unprecedented statewide hand recount is now under way in the Sunshine State, further extending a muddled, high stakes battle over every last vote in Florida’s crucial U.S. Senate race. But, barring a legal challenge, the race for governor is over. Following a five-day machine recount of the more than 8.3 million votes cast in the Nov. 6 election, Secretary of State Ken Detzner ordered hand recounts Thursday afternoon in the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Bill Nelson and Gov. Rick Scott, and also the race for agriculture commissioner between Nicole “Nikki” Fried and Matt Caldwell. The race for governor, which also went through a machine recount, was outside the margins that trigger a manual recount as new tallies came in, making Republican former congressman Ron DeSantis the governor-elect a full nine days after Democrat Andrew Gillum first conceded. … Gillum, who explicitly revoked his election night concession Saturday as a machine recount began, did not re-concede Thursday, if there is such a thing.
Florida: ‘We chose not to fix this’: Florida’s new election crisis, 18 years after Bush v Gore | The Guardian
The judge’s indictment was damning. “We have been the laughingstock of the world, election after election,” the US district judge Mark Walker told a court in Florida on Thursday. “And we chose not to fix this.” The midterm elections took place more than a week ago. New members of Congress are posing for photos on Capitol Hill in Washington. Yet the Sunshine state is still counting votes in the knife-edge US Senate race between the Republican Rick Scott and the Democrat Bill Nelson. It has been a tortuous 10 days of chaotic leadership, catnip for lawyers, protesters in the streets, clapped-out counting machines and partisan allegations of incompetence and worse. Bob Shrum, a Democratic strategist, said bluntly: “Florida is where good elections go to die.” He should know. Shrum was a senior adviser to Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election, which all came down to Florida. Katherine Harris, the Florida secretary of state and co-chair of George W Bush’s statewide campaign, announced that he had won the state – and with it the presidency. At first Gore, phoned Bush to concede but, as the margin tightened, he called back to withdraw his concession.
As the general counsel of Al Gore’s 2000 recount effort in Florida, I’m often asked this question about the Senate and gubernatorial recounts now going on there: Why does “this” keep happening in Florida? Part of what we are seeing now in Florida, as we did in 2000, is the product of factors specific to the state: persistently weak election administration in key counties, perennially close and hard-fought elections, and a colorful group of political players that seems ripped from the pages of a Carl Hiaasen novel. But the most important thing to know about what’s happening in Florida is that it has little to do specifically with Florida at all. Take a step back and look at the big issues playing out in Florida, and what you’ll see, instead of Florida’s foibles, are three critical challenges to American democracy as a whole. First, we allow interested parties — not neutral officials — to oversee the electoral process. It may seem absurd that Florida’s chief law enforcement officer, Gov. Rick Scott, who is also the Republican nominee in the Senate recount, is in a position to allege crimes by election officials, attempt to seize voting machines and dispatch state troopers to try to intervene in the post-election dispute. But a similar spectacle has been unfolding for months next door in Georgia.