Friday, November 09, 2018

Cruising the Web

Oh, geez. Not another Florida recount. And, once again, Broward County is a mess. The supervisor of elections in Broward County, Brenda Snipes has a history of incompetence and suspicious behavior.
On Wednesday alone, 22,000 new Broward votes were tallied, narrowing the margins further in Democrats’ favor in the races. And, thanks to Broward, the gubernatorial race on Thursday afternoon hit the threshold for a recount and Democrat Nikki Fried took the lead over Rep. Matt Caldwell in the agriculture commissioner race by a mere 583 votes.

With so much riding on the nation’s largest swing state – a U.S. Senate seat, a Florida Cabinet seat and perhaps a gubernatorial recount -- Broward’s supervisor of elections, Brenda Snipes, won’t or can’t say how many ballots there are left to count.
For some reason, Snipes claims that she doesn't know how many ballots haven't been counted. And they're finding boxes of ballots that were somehow mislaid on Tuesday. How does that happen?

And now they're blaming the design of the ballot in Broward County (sound familiar) for fewer people voting in the Senate race than in other races.
Another problem with Broward: about 24,000 more people voted for governor than for U.S. Senate – even though the Senate race was at the top of the ballot and top-of-the-ballot races usually rack up the most votes. More Broward voters cast ballots in the state’s agriculture commissioner, chief financial officer and attorney general races as well – a phenomenon seen in none of the other 66 counties.
The Sun Sentinel reports,
Of the Broward ballots already counted, more than 24,000 people voted for a governor candidate but didn’t vote for a Senate candidate, according to county results Thursday morning.

More than 690,000 people voted for governor in Broward in Tuesday’s election, while more than 665,000 voters cast ballots for Senate, preliminary county election results show....

The difference was nearly even between the Republican and Democratic candidates.

Gillum received more than 10,200 votes than Nelson, while DeSantis also received more than 10,400 votes than Scott.

Some voters said that they don’t remember seeing the Senate race on their ballots or that they almost missed it.

For the midterms, Broward’s discrepancy among the number of votes wasn’t just in the Senate and governor races.

More people in Broward voted for the state’s commissioner of agriculture, chief financial officer and attorney general positions than they did for the Senate, according to the preliminary county results.
The Orlando Sentinel describes the Broward ballot.
The instructions for voting on the ballot ran in the far left column of the ballot, pushing the Senate race below them.

Some speculate that displaying the Senate choices that way might have caused some voters to overlook that race.

In Orange County and other Florida ballots, the instructions are anchored across the top so that all the races line up.

Some Broward County residents have told the Sun Sentinel that they didn’t see the Senate race on their ballots.

But the bottom line is this: There is really no way to determine how many people might have voted in the U.S. Senate race if the ballot had been designed differently.
Perhaps poor ballot design is to blame for the undercount, but it doesn't seem to have favored one candidate over the other.

This supervisor of elections
is no model of competence.
Before the 2016 elections, Snipes’ office mistakenly sent out some absentee ballots to voters that failed to list a popular medical marijuana measure that ultimately passed by wide margins, but not before the office was sued by the Florida chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. In another case during the election, the office mailed out about 1,700 ballots that had the word “no” in Creole where it should have said “wi” for “yes.”

Right before the 2016 elections, the Republican Party of Florida threatened to sue Snipes for the way in which her office handled the opening of absentee ballots. The controversy initially went away, but the party then sued to ensure her office followed the law on handling the ballots. It ultimately prevailed in court.

Snipes was hauled into court in a federal lawsuit over the way her office removes ineligible voters from the rolls, but she prevailed. However, she did lose yet another suit that was filed in the Wasserman Schultz race over the destruction of ballots after the election.

Florida’s elections division announced it would monitor her office heading into the election.
Here is a story about a judge ruling against Snipes earlier this year.
The Broward County Supervisor of Elections Office violated state and federal laws by destroying ballots from a 2016 Congressional race too soon — and while the ballots were the subject of a lawsuit against the office, a judge has ruled.

Based on that ruling, Florida’s Department of State will send election experts to the Broward elections office in the upcoming election “to ensure that all laws are followed,” the governor’s office said. It could also cost the elections office more than $200,000 to pay attorney’s fees for Tim Canova, the defeated candidate who sued the office.

The decision stems from Canova’s bid to unseat Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in the Democratic primary, a race he lost convincingly, at about 57 percent to 43 percent, or 28,809 votes to 21,907.

Canova, who was checking for voting irregularities in the race, sought to look at the paper ballots in March 2017 and took Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes to court three months later when her office hadn’t fulfilled his request. Snipes approved the destruction of the ballots in September, signing a certification that said no court cases involving the ballots were pending.

Snipes called the action a “mistake” during testimony she gave in the case, saying the boxes were mislabeled and there was “nothing on my part that was intentional” about destroying the contested ballots.
Sure, sure.

And then a few months later, in August, this judge ruled again against Snipes.
In a ruling that could make it easier for groups to challenge potentially ineligible absentee ballots, a Broward circuit judge has ordered Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes to change the way her office handles those mailed-in votes.

The Republican Party of Florida had sought the ruling, saying the procedure the elections office follows has given outside groups little opportunity to object to mail-in ballots they find questionable.

Judge Raag Singhal said Florida law was clear on the subject: The ballots should not be opened until the county’s three-member canvassing board had determined the validity of the ballots.
The judge even wrote that Snipes misunderstood the "meaning of the word 'canvas.'" She is, ironically, a member of the canvassing board for Broward County. Way to go.


In some on-the-mark foreshadowing, the Miami Herald had previewed Broward's problems before the election.
Even beyond her own reprimand for authorizing the destruction of ballots, Snipes cannot deny the department’s patchy track record. In 2016, early voting results for Broward were posted a half hour before polls closed, in violation of election law. Her office was sued unsuccessfully because a constitutional amendment was missing from some mail-in ballots. The electronic system used by the county was also later found to have been targeted by Russian government hackers — although it’s unclear whether that affected results and had nothing to do with the early posting.

On multiple occasions, there have been problems with printing mail ballots. And in the August primaries, Broward was the last county to post election results. The department cited reasons from unexpected recounts, delayed jump drive delivery — rumor was they were temporarily lost — to a late influx of mail-in ballots that were still being counted the next day, leaving the results of several races unclear .

“We have consistently been the bottom of the barrel getting our voting results in,” Broward County Commissioner Nan Rich said at a September meeting to discuss how to prevent future delays in posting results. “I don’t want to be 67th in 67 counties again in voting.”
Well, you can give up on that wish.


President Trump went out of his way to tap dance on the defeat of Republicans from suburban districts who lost on Tuesday. It was really classless and repellent behavior. The WSJ writes,
At his media melee on Wednesday, Mr. Trump read the names of some of these House Members with vindictive delight because he said “they didn’t want the embrace.” He meant his. This was petty and not smart. Erik Paulsen in the Twin Cities, Peter Roskam west of Chicago and Barbara Comstock in northern Virginia understood that Mr. Trump is unpopular in their districts. They were trying to save seats that the GOP will now have to win back if they want another majority in 2020.
Those seats went to Democrats who helped the Democrats to the majority in the House, a majority that will gleefully be investigating Trump and his administration. And those defeated Republicans can legitimately place a good deal of the blame for their loss on Trump.
The House defeat is also a message from moderate Republicans and independents, especially women put off by Mr. Trump’s rancorous style. A question in the October Wall Street Journal-NBC poll puts this problem in sharp relief. While 44% of voters approve of Mr. Trump’s policies, some 20% like his policies but dislike him personally. That 20% is five times the percentage who disliked George W. Bush but liked his policies when he lost the House in 2006, and 10 times the share that disliked Barack Obama in 2013.

Worse for Mr. Trump, the share of voters who dislike him personally but like his policies increased in the past two years. This is extraordinary for a new President and reveals his missed opportunity. Some two-thirds of voters on Tuesday expressed satisfaction with the economy, and these are people he’d win if he didn’t alienate them with his narcissism and petulance.

Unlike Richard Nixon or Ronald Reagan, Mr. Trump has made no effort to build a larger coalition than the minority who helped win the Presidency narrowly over Hillary Clinton. Instead he has played constantly to his base who are already loyal. If he wants to be re-elected, he will have to win over more suburban Republicans and independents.

Mr. Trump’s closing argument on immigration also looks to have been a bust that cost Republicans in swing House districts. White House aide Stephen Miller bears much of the responsibility for this misjudgment.

He advised Mr. Trump to walk away from a potential deal trading legalization for the so-called Dreamers in return for money for border security and “the wall.” Then he urged the border crackdown that became the fiasco of family separation that further turned off suburban voters. These Republicans want border security, but they also want a humane and generous immigration policy.
Does Trump really think that he can win in 2020 without appealing to people in the suburbs?

And now that Arizona looks to be going back to Sinema (darn it!) and Florida is in doubt, the whole basis for Trump's triumphalism is deteriorating.


It's nice of feminists to take the mask off of what they're really about. Apparently, they believe that women should be free to do and think what they want unless they're not doing and thinking what leftists think they should be thinking. So now we're getting some on the left expressing their anger at white women who didn't vote the way they think they should have voted. The Women's March tweeted out their disgust that white women voted 59% for Ted Cruz compared to black women who went 95% for O'Rourke. There are similar percentages regarding the Georgia and Florida governor's races. They tweeted that "There needs to be accountability and an honest reckoning," while advising white women that they need to learn and grow.

John Sexton responds,
So the white women who voted for Rafael Edward Cruz are racist but the ones who voted for Robert Francis O’Rourke aren’t?

To say all of this is creepy and condescending is really to undersell it a bit. What kind of “accountability” does the Women’s March have in mind? The riff about a lot of learning and growing, which they want to do with these women, makes me wonder if they’re envisioning some form of mandatory re-education. Of course, the Women’s March wouldn’t call it that but what are we talking about here? It’s a little too 1984 for me.

There’s also the question of what “White women gonna white” is supposed to mean in the tweet they RTd? If you look at the numbers, it seems it was black women who voted uniformly as a block. White women split their vote, almost evenly in the case of DeSantis. So the problem here isn’t that white women voted too much the same, it’s that they didn’t do it enough, i.e. one uniform block supporting progressives. Maybe that’s because some women see things, I don’t know, differently?
Jemele Hill asserts that white women are voting against the best interest of all women and need to be held accountable.

As a white woman who is conservative, I find this so very offensive. I thought that truly independent women should respect the right of other women to think for themselves and not assume that one group of women knows what's right and anyone else need to be held accountable for thinking differently. Just keep doing this, liberal women. You've driven away a whole lot of white men; do you really want to do the same with white women?


My best wishes to Justice Ginsburg who fell and fractured three ribs. While I'd be thrilled for a Republican president and Senate to replace her, I don't want it to happen as a result of her suffering an injury. She seems like a very tough lady.
Justice Ginsburg’s history suggests the injuries are not likely to keep her away. She broke two ribs in 2012, without missing work. And she returned to work quickly after undergoing a heart procedure in 2012. She is also a cancer survivor and returned to work less than three weeks after having surgery.
I had an opportunity to meet her when I took a class ten years ago for teachers who teach about the Supreme Court. I was struck then about how tiny and frail she seemed. When she walked up the steps to the podium, I found myself holding my breath that she wouldn't fall and almost couldn't believe that she didn't need to lean on someone's arm just to walk up a few stairs. And that was when she was 75 and now she's 85. Best wishes for her recovery.


It sounds like both the Green and the Democratic Parties are angry with their candidate in Arizona's Senate race, the appropriately named, Angela Green. First, she bowed out of the contest and endorsed Kyrsten Sinema just days before the election. But the Green Party wasn't having any of that. And she still got 2.2% of the vote, just enough that might have made the difference in the election.
Also complicating matters, the Arizona Green Party put out a statement before the election saying it "disassociates" itself from Green's comments. "Green does not speak for the AZGP. Her comments are her own. The AZGP does not endorse the candidates of the corporate ruling class," the party said in a statement.

As of Thursday, Green had 2.2 percent of the vote, or 38,978 ballots, with 99 percent of precincts reporting. While those figures may not seem significant for a contender who spent less than $1,000 on her campaign, they represent more than the difference between McSally and Sinema. McSally, a Trump ally, is slightly ahead of her Democratic opponent.

Green, who prior to stepping aside was attracting about 6 percent of the vote according to RealClearPolitics' polling average, has denied that her run for the Senate, or subsequent withdrawal, has created a "spoiler effect" that Sinema now needs to overcome.


Well, why not?
A 69-year-old Dutchman is battling to legally reduce his age by 20 years so he can get more work and attract more women on Tinder.

Emile Ratelband argues that if transgender people are allowed to change sex, he should be allowed to change his date of birth because doctors said he has the body of a 45-year-old.

The motivational speaker, a media personality in the Netherlands, is suing his local authority after they refused to amend his age on official documents....

'When I'm 69, I am limited. If I'm 49, then I can buy a new house, drive a different car. I can take up more work.

'When I'm on Tinder and it says I'm 69, I don't get an answer. When I'm 49, with the face I have, I will be in a luxurious position.

'Transgender people can now have their gender changed on their birth certificate, and in the same spirit there should be room for an age change.'

The Dutchman said he is discriminated against because of his age on a daily basis.

He complains that companies are reluctant to hire someone the age of a pensioner as a consultant.

And he says his move would also be good news for the government as he would be renouncing his pension until he reaches retirement age again.
If gender is just in your mind, why shouldn't age also be? If we're going to open the door, people will walk through.