Written By: Fionna Killian
Election day- it is one of the most anticipated and important days when it comes to deciding the fate and future of our state and our country.
November 15 was gripping, and after long awaited races for Governor and Senator, Florida finally got results, though they certainly did not come without difficulty.
The race between Andrew Gillum and governor-elect, Ron DeSantis, and the race between Bill Nelson and senator-elect, Rick Scott, were close, each race separated by less than a 0.5 percent margin. In other words, they were extremely close races.
The factor-thin margins triggered mandatory recounts and Florida was growing irritated. Though, the worst part about the races are not their results, but rather that Floridians use questionable strategies to cope with their frustration at the uncertainty of these races. When it comes to elections, it is easy to blame such close results on the people who decide not to exercise their right to vote, but this is a counterproductive method that disregards an even bigger shortcoming: our voting system.
The recounts are frustrating because of several accounts of votes not being counted in certain districts as well as mechanical failures in voting machines. According to The New York Times, dozens of precincts in Broward county missed deadlines for the recount, and nearly 3,000 votes were not counted. Also, absentee ballots that had signatures that were determined to be mismatched, resulted in over 10,000 more votes not being counted. Miami Dade county also experience a short of around 500 votes.
The lack of certitude that votes will be counted causes people to question why they vote in the first place, and exemplifies how our voting systems must be improved. In regards to our ballot system “it must be upgraded to ensure that all votes are clear, counted, and recognized”, MAST alumnus and second time voter Valerie Bracho said. In order to secure a certain and undeniable outcome, ensuring that every vote is counted is not only proper, but necessary.
The races also fuel partisan divides between the people of Florida. The fact that the candidates running, especially for governor, are notably on opposite sides of the political spectrum increased tensions between Floridians, promoting the idea that some votes are more favorable than others, depending on which party someone is affiliated with. No matter what party someone is a part of, Floridians and all people alike should be respectful of an individual’s right to vote. We, as people, need to decide whether we want to be fair and promote everyone having their voice heard, or resort to marginalizing people we do not agree with. The purpose of voting is to accurately reflect who we want to govern us, and in order to do so, people from all parties should be encouraged to vote and should not be scorned for doing so. With all the complications already brought on by our voting system, the last thing we need is to point fingers and blame the results on other voters and nonvoters.
Though the recount was certainly nerve-wrecking, the most important aspects in the voting process must be considered in order to ensure that the people’s right to vote is unobstructed, and that the results accurately represent the will of the people.