The 2012 Presidential Election is in the books…almost. The electoral votes are indisputable regardless of Florida, but as has been customary, the vote in Palm Beach and Miami Dade County are embarrassingly sloppy and late. No one is soon to forget the infamous ‘hanging chad’ situation in 2000, which was a dumpster fire of epic proportions that actually did determine the election outcome. That was made possible by a mistake and accuracy loophole in, where else, Miami Dade County. As news was breaking last night with regards to crucial swing states in the election, Florida’s vote was over 80% in but the remaining votes were yet to be cast, as people were forced to wait in lines for as long as 6 hours. This lengthy delay was on top of another blunder on the ballots, with as many as 20,000 absentee ballots sent with an incorrectly labelled section that would not feed through the electronic counters, and therefore had to be hand-counted. Ultimately, since it did not affect the 2012 election, all of the ballots in the state of Florida could have been set ablaze in a roll off dumpster and we would at least have a clean result today.
Florida wasn’t alone in election day blunders, as there were excessively long lines in Virginia, South Carolina and Iowa which lead to some potential voters bailing on their right to vote. In Iowa, there was so much turnout that Madison County, just Southwest of Des Moines, had to make photocopies of ballots to accommodate voters. A couple of aspects of this issue are shocking. The first obviously being the fact that the number of ballots does not meet the number of potential voters – that is inexcusable. It is also shocking that in 2012, the era of the smartphone and tablet PC, we do not have a technology that allows for an electronic and efficient voting process. Some may blame the issue on uneducated voters that had to read through lengthy issues at the poll, but I imagine that a slow, 20th century system is the primary contributing factor.
Ultimately, the 2012 election was lacking in suspense and surprise, as Obama repeated in similar fashion as the last election, albeit a bit closer in terms of the popular vote. Similarly, although a few faces have changed, the majority of the House is still Republican, and the majority of the Senate is still Democrat. The election netted no change in the balance of power, but the lack of change did not keep candidates in all races from spending a combined $8 Billion on campaigning. Essentially, with a few congressional exceptions, the money spent on the campaigns might as well have been put in a roll off dumpster and set on fire, or better yet be offered as a contribution against the national debt. Hopefully in the next 4 years, the process will be cleaner and more efficient – if not, at least we know it will at least be forced to result in a change.