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2018 Elections

Russian hackers breached the systems of two county elections systems in Florida in 2016, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday at a news conference. DeSantis said no data were tampered with and vote tallies were not affected.

The intrusions, which had not ever been publicly confirmed, were first disclosed in special counsel Robert Mueller's report about Russian interference in the 2016 election last month.

Just hours after the inauguration Tuesday of Gov. Ron DeSantis, his predecessor, Rick Scott, was sworn into the U.S. Senate.

Nearly one and a half million felons who have served their sentence regain the right to vote in Florida on Tuesday. The voting rights are being restored as a new amendment to the state constitution goes into effect.

Daylina Miller/WUSF News

When Ron DeSantis becomes Florida's next governor, he will continue a two-decade tradition of Republican control that has emphasized tax cuts, the growth of school voucher programs, and a deep skepticism about expanding the state's health care safety net.

Broward Supervisor of Elections Office / Facebook

A federal judge is holding a hearing over whether to give a former Florida elections official her job back.

NASA

Senator Bill Nelson’s more than three-decades-long political career has come to an end. After a contentious election and chaotic recount, Governor Rick Scott will take over as Florida’s Senator next month.

Education is an enormous piece of the state budget. Hundreds of thousands of people work in the industry, and millions of Florida families send their kids to public schools each day.

The year 2018 is almost over, and Florida Matters is looking back at the stories that made headlines in our region this year.


Governor-elect Ron Desantis’s environmental transition team is focusing on water quality and supply. But when climate change didn’t come up in the team’s discussions, advocates for environmental protection took action.

The Florida Senate has declined to consider reinstating former Broward County elections head Brenda Snipes, paving the way for an ally of Republican Gov. Rick Scott to fill the remainder of her term, according to a memo on Thursday from Senate President Bill Galvano.

Snipes had announced she would resign her post on Jan. 4, amid an outcry over stumbles by her office during Florida’s recount.

Broward County’s new elections supervisor welcomed an audit of his office and reassured commissioners on Tuesday that he will not make it harder for county residents to vote.

Commissioners have expressed concerns that Peter Antonacci, a Republican, could reduce early voting days, eliminate polling locations and purge voter rolls of eligible voters to reduce turnout in the overwhelmingly Democratic county.

But during a brief appearance in front of the commissioners at their final meeting of the year, the appointee said, “there will be no diminution of service.”

Roberto Roldan / WUSF Public Media

Governor-elect Ron DeSantis launched his "Thank You Tour" of Florida on Saturday, starting in the Tampa Bay area.

Elections Officials: Tweaks Needed, But No Major Overhaul

Dec 4, 2018
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

As Florida's elections supervisors meet for the first time since the Nov. 6 election, they say that despite some recent problems, the majority of the counties handled things smoothly.

Progressive organizations spent millions of dollars in Florida trying to increase young voter turnout.

Exit polling from researchers at Tufts University show their efforts may have made a difference in the 2018 midterms. More than 30 percent of registered voters under the age of 29 cast ballots. That's a 25-year-high.

Florida’s political world is built around two-year cycles.

And the latest acrimonious, head-scratching cycle finally ended Tuesday when the state Elections Canvassing Commission certified the results of the Nov. 6 elections.

After nearly two weeks, the Sunshine State's darkest recurring political nightmare is over.

Florida's recount process was marred by accusations of incompetence, antiquated voting technology and even a ballot design issue that some Democrats believe cost them a Senate seat. Republicans and the president even suggested — without evidence — that voter fraud had been committed.

For some it brought back flashbacks to the 2000 presidential election, when the nation's attention was brought to Florida's humiliating, poorly-organized recount procedure.

Caldwell Concedes In Florida Ag Commissioner Race

Nov 19, 2018
WLRN

Republican state Rep. Matt Caldwell said Monday he won't challenge his loss to Democrat Nikki Fried in Florida's agriculture commission race — a contest that was the closest of the three statewide seats that went through a recount.

In year of Democratic hopes, GOP comes out on top in Florida

Nov 19, 2018
Wendy Whitt

This was the year Florida's Democrats spoke ambitiously of ending their 20-year journey in political exile in this battleground state. Instead, election results after a tense and bruising recount showed Republicans coming out on top for governor and even picking up a U.S. Senate seat.

Former medical-marijuana lobbyist Nikki Fried is on the verge of being the only Florida Democrat to capture a statewide win, gaining votes over Republican state Rep. Matt Caldwell in the race for agriculture commissioner after a manual recount was completed Sunday.

The manual recount also had no effect on the outcome of three razor-thin legislative races, in which Democrat Janet Cruz flipped a state Senate seat and House Republicans picked up one seat and held onto another.

Wikimedia Creative Commons

Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida political icon who first arrived on Capitol Hill in the decades when Democrats dominated this presidential battleground state, conceded his bitterly close re-election bid to Republican Rick Scott on Sunday, ceding a razor-thin race to the outgoing governor after a bruising recount.

Updated at 3:21 p.m. ET

After two recounts, a deluge of lawsuits and loaded political rhetoric, the 12-day election marathon in Florida is finally drawing to a close.

Federal Judge Rejects Two More Florida Elections Lawsuits

Nov 17, 2018

With a machine recount in the rearview mirror and a manual recount underway, the legal challenges over Florida’s elections are piled up.

In two rulings late Thursday, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker shot down an attempt to keep Republican Gov. Rick Scott from interfering in the recount process and nixed another challenge focused on the way county canvassing boards decide which ballots should be tossed.

On this week’s Florida Roundup we’re looking at the Florida recount and the slow recovery in the Panhandle.

Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

Now that the automatic election recount is done, it's time to do it by hand.

A manual recount of ballots cast in the U.S. Senate race between Gov. Rick Scott and incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson began at 9 a.m. Friday, as well as for the state Agriculture Commission race, where Democrat Nikki Fried leads Republican Matt Caldwell.

Several Tampa Bay area elections offices are extending their hours to help voters with contested mail-in ballots.

Nine days after Election Day, and one machine recount later, it is all but official: Ron DeSantis is Florida’s next governor.

Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

While all Tampa Bay area counties wrapped up the state-ordered machine recount by Thursday afternoon's deadline, Hillsborough County decided against submitting its revised totals.

Roberto Roldan/WUSF

Tampa Bay counties have completed the machine recounts in the U.S. Senate, Florida Governor and Agriculture Commissioner races, and are now preparing for manual recounts in the Senate and Agriculture Commission races.

Federal Judge: Florida Is 'Laughing Stock Of The World'

Nov 15, 2018
People in line to vote
Mary Shedden/WUSF

A federal judge slammed Florida on Thursday for repeatedly failing to anticipate election problems, and said the state law on recounts appears to violate the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that decided the presidency in 2000.

This story was updated at 6:20 p.m.

After initially saying earlier Wednesday that it met a state deadline to recount three statewide races, Broward County issued a stunning reversal later in the afternoon.

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