Possible 2018 midterm election recount gives Florida deja vu

LAUDERHILL, FLA. (WSVN) - As the Sunshine State heads for a recount, many are reminded of the contested 2000 presidential election where South Florida was ground zero.

South Florida has ended up in the election spotlight for all the wrong reasons, again. 7News spoke with an expert about the recount repeat.

It’s been 18 years since it took the United States Supreme Court to determine whether George Bush or Al Gore won the State of Florida and the presidency. Now, it appears the State of Florida is headed for a recount again.

The recount will possibly be for three high profile races: agriculture commissioner, U.S. Senate and the governor’s office.

In 2000, after 100 million Americans had cast their ballots with Gore getting most of those, the networks projected him to be the winner. However, they then changed their minds and said it was Bush before settling on it being too close to call.

“He’s not conceding anything, and we’re not either,” said Bush in archival footage.

All eyes were on Florida and our hanging, dimpled chads.

Judge Robert Rosenburg was one of the many who counted the ballots by hand.

Eventually, the state high court declared Bush the winner in Florida by 300 votes.

Gore sued.

In the end, it was the United States Supreme Court, voting 5 to 4 to make George W. Bush the 43rd president of the United States.

“Let there be no doubt, while we strongly disagree with the court’s decision, I accept it,” Gore said in archival footage.

Eighteen years later, the presidency isn’t on the line, but three major state races are with Broward County being right smack in the middle of it.

“It is a mess,” said Dr. Charles Zelden, a Nova Southeastern University professor.

Zelden wrote a book about the 2000 debacle and said Broward County struggles in close elections.

“When it gets this close, where every vote has to count and needs to be counted, the system tends to fall apart, and this is where we are right now,” Zelden said.

The responsibility, he said, falls on Dr. Brenda Snipes who is the supervisor of elections.

“What’s happening is she’s running an office that when the pressure really comes down heavy, it’s cracking under the weight of that pressure,” he said.

Another issue in Broward is the ballot design.

For some reason, only in Broward, 25,000 people voted for a governor but not a senator.

Ballot experts are blaming a layout flaw.

The governor section was front and center, but the senate race was tucked under a lengthy list of instructions.

“What’s weird about Broward County is they voted for governor, they voted for attorney general, they voted for [agriculture] commissioner,” Zelden said, “but they didn’t vote for Senate, and that just doesn’t make sense.”

It took five weeks to sort it out in 2000. We’re three days into it 2018.

Counties have until noon on Saturday to submit the final numbers. At that point, state officials can issue the recounts.

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