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2018 Election

Read our current and previous coverage of the 2018 election season as you prepare to cast your ballot. You'll find information on important races, explanations of constitutional amendments and details of local referendums.

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.

Leading up to Nov. 6, 2018, anyone with a stake in American democracy was holding their breath.

After a Russian effort leading up to 2016 to sow chaos and polarization, and to degrade confidence in American institutions, what sort of widespread cyberattack awaited the voting system in the first national election since?

None, it seems.

Office of Florida Governor

As lawmakers return to the Capitol in early January for committee meetings, a Senate panel will look at a newly approved constitutional amendment designed to expand the rights of crime victims.

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.

When we set out to try to look back on the year that was in politics, we started with a list that grew ... and grew ... and grew. After a couple of days, the list was just shy of 100 news events. That's about one notable story every three days.

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.

Republican State Senator Rob Bradley is leading the charge to keep future constitutional amendments in Florida single-issue. Bradley filed a bill last week, after most “bundled” amendments passed during the Midterm elections.

Why Are So Many Election Ballots Confusing?

Nov 25, 2018

Whitney Quesenbery knows a well-designed ballot when she sees it: lower-case letters, left-aligned text, a clean sans-serif font.

Quesenbery has been assessing ballot design for nearly two decades. Los Angeles County's is one of the best she has seen.

"Look at those instructions," she says, admiring the ballot's simple wording and standout color. "They're beautiful."

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.

CREDIT RANDY COLAS / UNSPLASH

The 2018 mid-term election is barely settled but longtime political watchers are already reading the tea-leaves for 2020. Noted Republican and Democratic  political strategists say the legal battles of this year are only a prelude for upcoming elections, with no sign of political divides healing anytime soon. 

Florida’s Senate President-elect Bill Galvano hosted members of the Capitol Press Corps Friday, fielding questions about the election, upcoming session and beyond.

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.

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