2012 election

Doby Photography/NPR

The 2012 election will be remembered for revealing major demographic shifts among voters. That change was very apparent in the swing state of Florida.

NPR White House correspondent Ari Shapiro covered Mitt Romney during the campaign and made numerous trips to Florida.

He was back in Florida on Thursday to speak to the Lifelong Learning Center at USF Sarasota-Manatee. Shapiro said two-thirds of Hispanic voters cast a ballot for Barack Obama in 2008, and that percentage actually grew to three-fourths in the 2012 election.

Changes Might Be Coming to Florida's Voting Laws

Jan 7, 2013

Florida's legislative session doesn't start for two months, but already both Republicans and Democrats appear to agree that voting laws need to be changed.

Some legislators say they're embarrassed with Florida's election performance in November. It took several days to determine who won the presidential race in Florida.

The big demographic story out of the 2012 presidential election may have been President Obama's domination of the Hispanic vote, and rightfully so.

But as we close the book on the election, it bears noting that another less obvious bloc of key swing state voters helped the president win a second term.

Maybe the poll workers had never seen "Interview with the Vampire" or "True Romance." BuzzFeed reports actor Christian Slater's provisional ballot in this month's general election was rejected by the state of Florida, even after he waited in line for hours to vote.

The St. Lucie County Canvassing Board ordered a recount of early-voting ballots in the race between U.S. Rep. Allen West and Democrat Patrick Murphy. Murphy had been declared the unofficial victor in the race.

Charlie Crist can describe Barack Obama in four words: "He's the real deal."

Crist made the remark Thursday in Oldsmar during an awards banquet for the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists. After serving as Republican governor of Florida from 2007 to 2011, this year Crist endorsed Obama in this newspaper editorial and went on to speak at the Democratic National Convention.

Now a registered independent, Crist told banquet attendees, "I've looked into the soul of this man, and what I've seen is a man who is deserving of all our prayers and all of our support."

Here's what else Crist had to say about the president and Florida's role in the 2012 election.

Remember four-year-old Abbie Evans, reduced to tears after hearing yet another NPR story Mitt Romney and "Bronco Bama?"

It hit a nerve. Time magazine wrote, "We Are All Abigael Evans."

Well, above is her reaction to the news that Bronco won. Very cute.

Obama Wins Florida...Finally, Officially

Nov 10, 2012
Alex Cook / WUSF

President Barack Obama was declared the winner of Florida's 29 electoral votes Saturday, ending a four-day count with a razor-thin margin that narrowly avoided an automatic recount that would have brought back memories of 2000.

No matter the outcome, Obama had already clinched re-election and now has 332 electoral votes to Romney's 206.

After being the "invisible" party in Tallahassee for several years, Florida Democrats shined in this week's elections. Senate Republicans no longer have a veto-proof "supermajority," and the Democrats picked up at least four seats in the House - including knocking off the incoming speaker. WUSF's Steve Newborn talks with Florida Democratic Chairman Rod Smith about whether the party can keep up the momentum.

Almost all the ballots are finally counted in Florida, and the Romney campaign admits that it has lost by a narrow margin -- about half a point.

The absentee ballot count is mercifully over. Miami-Dade elections workers counted a final batch of 500 absentees Thursday morning, after pulling an all-nighter. Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections Penelope Townsley fended off criticism Thursday that the county's election was less than perfect, when she announced the completion of the county's absentee ballot count about 40 hours after the polls closed on Election Day.

Miami-Dade will not report full election results until Wednesday, election supervisors said Tuesday night, as dozens of polls remained open four hours after closing time.

If you watched any Election Day coverage on TV, there was no escaping video of Florida voters in long lines wrapped around polling places – the same for early voting days. We ask a newly-elected lawmaker if that's a signal that the legislature should reconsider statutes that shortened early voting days.

The long lines may have made it seem like a record turnout – but only 70 percent of registered voters cast a ballot this election. In 2008, 75 percent turned out.

Bobbie O'Brien

The ballroom at the downtown Tampa Hyatt Regency was never full or even crowded throughout the entire evening. Five big-screen TVs and overhead chandeliers illuminated the muted atmosphere.

The Lieutenant Governor, Chief Financial Officer and Florida Attorney General were among the several state Republican office holders expected to attend, according to a party spokesman.

The only one who showed was state agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam, a native of Polk County.

A Look at the Bill Nelson, Connie Mack Election Night Events

Nov 7, 2012
Fort Myers News-Press

Last night, Democrat Bill Nelson held onto his seat in the U.S. Senate.  Nelson defeated Republican Congressman Connie Mack 55 to 42 percent. We look at both the Nelson and Mack election night events - first, Nelson's celebration in Orlando.

Bill Nelson took the stage at the Embassy Suites hotel in Downtown Orlando as his campaign song played.

He described it as a cross between the battle hymn of the Republic and the theme from Rocky.

Nelson told the crowd he’s ready to move on after a bitter campaign.

Bill Nelson Makes Case for Bipartisan Cooperation

Nov 7, 2012
US Senate

Florida U.S. Senator Bill Nelson won re-election handily, staving off a challenge from GOP Congressman Connie Mack IV.  His victory speech included a plea for bipartisan cooperation.

In front of a fired up crowd of supporters at the Democratic victory party at a downtown Orlando hotel, Nelson said he felt humbled the voters had chosen him for a third term.

It's refrain that will take you back to 2000: For NPR, Florida is still too close to call.

The big difference is that President Obama has enough of an electoral cushion that it would not affect the outcome of the elections.

Still, for record, here are the latest numbers from Florida, Ohio and Virginia, three states that gave pollsters headaches yesterday.

We'll start with Florida:

Ever since the surreal presidential election of 2000, voter access on Election Day has come under increased scrutiny. Tuesday was no different, with heavy turnout and confusion over new laws causing some issues.

But even in battleground states, there were few reports of major problems by late evening.

Americans elected Barack Obama to a second term Tuesday, with the president capturing or on the verge of winning all of the key states that had been at the center of his hard-fought campaign against Republican Mitt Romney.

"Whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you," Obama said early Wednesday at a speech before thousands of supporters in Chicago. "I have learned from you. And you've made me a better president.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

The mood at the party at Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry was pretty mellow for the first several hours. But electricity started to flow through the crowd as President Obama picked off one swing state after another. Just as Hillsborough County Democratic Chairman Chris Mitchell took the stage, MSNBC's big screen announced the president had gone over the the top.

Just after the announcement, Mack Frank celebrated by hugging a friend.

"Thank you. THANK YOU! How you doing? Thank you!," he said.