Bill Cotterell: "On the eve of the election, a new poll shows an extremely tight race for governor and a lopsided lead for Republican Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate campaign."
The Quinnipiac University poll says Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink has 44 percent support for governor, while Republican Rick Scott is just one point behind her. In the three-way Senate race, Rubio polled 45 percent of the vote, while Gov. Charlie Crist's independent campaign had 31 percent support and Democrat Kendrick Meek was running third at 18 percent."November 1, 2010 - Dead Heat In Florida Governor's Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Rubio Tops Crist By 14 Points In Senate Race".
The poll was conducted Sunday among 925 likely voters. It has an error margin of 3.2 percentage points.
The Quinnipiac release: "October 28, 2010 - Rubio Leads Crist By 7 Points In Florida Senate Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Sink Inches Ahead Of Scott In Governor's Race". Related: "Poll: Will Early Votes Make Rick Scott Come-From-Behind Winner?".
"Nasty, brutish and long campaign"
"After more than a year of politicking, Florida's nasty, brutish and long campaign season comes to a close Tuesday, as voters select a new roster of leaders in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C." "Elections 2010: Who rose, who stumbled and who's likely to win in Florida races".
See also "Scott, Sink hit road to attract undecided voters", "Scott, Rubio draw 1,000 GOP faithful in Sarasota; Sink gets 200 Dems at Delray barbecue" and "Fla. governor candidates to spend day campaigning". Related: "Candidates crisscross state, making final pitches".
To the extent anyone cares: "Scott Maxwell, Mike Thomas check out ballot, predict GOP sweep".
"'Voters haven't been swayed by the enormous personal baggage that would disqualify a candidate like West in another year,' said David Wasserman, House political editor for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, which rates the Klein-West battle a toss-up." "Klein-West race down to wire".
"A decade after hanging chad, butterfly ballots, manual recounts and proof of "voter intent" made Florida the epicenter of electoral chaos, ... Florida election officials are bracing for Tuesday's voting."
Several experts with knowledge of changes to state election laws say a recount this time would run more smoothly, in part because those paper ballots have given way to electronic touch screen machines and optical scan ballots marked by a voter's hand."Under state law, the secretary of state will order a machine recount if the margin of victory is within one-half of 1 percent, which would have meant fewer than 24,000 votes in the 2006 governor's race, in which then-Republican Charlie Crist defeated Democrat Jim Davis. County election officials would re-feed ballots through counting machines to double-check results."
"I think it will go smoother, certainly, because of the experiences of 2000," said Ron Meyer, an election-law expert and Sink adviser.
Both sides have lawyered up in case problems arise. Meyer will be at Sink's headquarters in Tampa on Tuesday, overseeing a network of standby volunteer lawyers stationed in most counties. Scott has a legal team in place as well, including former state GOP Chairman Al Cardenas of Miami and Tallahassee lawyer Hayden Dempsey.
If the result is still within a quarter of a percent — for example, fewer than 12,000 votes in 2006 — a manual recount will be ordered, triggering a review of so-called undervotes and overvotes."Razor-close governor's race triggers fear of recount, memories of 2000".
For example, if a voter accidentally marks two ovals in one race but clearly writes "not this one" next to an oval, that vote probably would count under the recount. But the vote might not count if the voter makes a check mark in one oval and the mark extends into another oval.
After the two recounts, results would be certified Nov. 16. Legal challenges would be due 10 days later.
Both recounts would end if the number of contested ballots is not high enough to alter the outcome or if the losing candidate concedes to his or her opponent.
More knives for Meek
Crist "began the day in West Palm Beach with Addie Greene, a former Palm Beach County commissioner and state House member. Echoing a sentiment expressed by other Democrats that for weeks has put Meek on the defensive, Greene urged blacks to vote for the governor, insisting Crist, not Meek, can beat Rubio." "Addie Greene, Mayor Masters endorse Crist, as he, Meek hustle for 'vote at a time'".
Early-voting ends with long lines
"Voters across Miami-Dade County took advantage of the last day of early voting Sunday, waiting in hours-long lines to avoid having to cast a ballot on election day. ... As of Sunday evening, Miami-Dade was still tabulating numbers of early voters. In Broward, where voting ended on Saturday, a total of 85,737 people cast their ballots during the special two-week period, the elections department said. ... Now, anyone who did not vote early must go to their assigned precincts on Election Day." "Voters in Miami-Dade flock to early-voting polls". See also "Long lines greet last early voters" and "Long lines on last day of early voting nets 4,720 ballots cast in Palm Beach County".
Meek's nonstop campaigning
"Front-runner Marco Rubio stayed on message, Gov. Charlie Crist made a desperate sprint across the state and Kendrick Meek announced he was bringing back former President Bill Clinton as the Florida Senate race entered its final stretch." "Clinton set to join Meek at Orlando stop".
"Democratic Senate nominee Kendrick Meek has been up all night trying to reach more voters. Meek began 24 hours of nonstop campaigning around 9 p.m. Sunday, meeting with college Democrats at the University of South Florida in Tampa." "Meek begins 24 hours of nonstop campaigning". See also "Kendrick Meek both admired, doubted". Related: "3 Fla. Senate hopefuls wrap up campaigns", "", "" and "Crist, Meek, Rubio make last runs across state".
Joy Reid is "still not sure why Kendrick Meek released this voicemail message": "Listen to voicemail Crist left Meek".
Kids happy about one feature of Election Day
"Parents, school administrators, voters — and especially kids — are happy about one feature of this Election Day. Public schools in Broward and Palm Beach counties will be closed." "Schools closed for Election Day".
Rivera-Garcia down to the wire
"The candidates' tumultuous race for an open congressional seat played out in the far-flung corners of Miami-Dade and Collier counties over the weekend. ... The close race might be decided by turnout: If GOP voters come out as enthusiastically as they did in the August primary, when almost twice as many Republican voters than Democrats cast ballots in the district, the results would almost certainly swing in Rivera's favor." "Rivera, Garcia forage for votes".
Stephen Goldstein: "Blocking the facts: Congress avoids truth on spill".
"Distorting our democracy"
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "The secret money pouring into this 2010 election season is distorting our democracy. A torrent of contributions from corporations, wealthy individuals and possibly even foreigners has flowed into nonprofit advocacy groups — many of them shadowy and new — to pay for mountains of political advertising. These groups don't have to promptly disclose their donors, and that leaves voters unable to gauge the credibility and ulterior motives of the people and companies spending so much to influence the outcome of Tuesday's elections." "Secret money distorts democracy".
"Which group of Hispanics?"
Guillermo I. Martinez reminds us that "it is important, and particularly so in a state such as Florida, to explain that all Hispanic voters do not vote the same. This is not a group as solidly Democratic as African-Americans, for Hispanics in the United States come from different countries and have had different life experiences."
When one speaks of Hispanics — and is in general talking about the Mexican-American vote, or the Puerto Rican vote in Chicago and New York — one can say with an almost absolute certainty that an overwhelming majority of them will vote for the Democratic candidate. And this is important to say because these groups represent more than 75 percent of the Hispanic population in the United States."Nuanced differences make Florida Hispanic voters hard to predict".
When one speaks of Hispanics in Florida, distinctions must be made. First Cuban-Americans, who until recently were solidly conservative Republicans, still vote for Republican candidates in most cases, but are no longer as solid a block as it once was.
Florida also has a large Puerto Rican population in the center of the state. Puerto Rican voters in this area are harder to predict. They voted for President Barack Obama in 2008, but previously voted for Republicans such as former Sen. Mel Martínez and former Gov. Jeb Bush. In Bush's case, they rejected him the first time he ran for governor but then gave him their solid backing the next two times he ran.
Finally, South Florida now has a large group of voters who come from other Latin American countries. The largest bloc, so far, is made up of people who came from Colombia. They have elected a Republican to the Florida House of Representatives, but their vote has not gone overwhelmingly for either party.
And soon we will have a growing number of Venezuelan voters, who will likely have a similar voting pattern to those who come from Cuba.
All this makes Florida elections so interesting and so difficult to predict. When one asks what will Florida's Hispanic voters will do on election day, the appropriate answer might be another question: Which group of Hispanics?
Anthony Man outlines many of the voting procedures (e.g., if you want to vote in person, instead of by that mail ballot someone sent you): "How to make Election Day smooth".
"George W. Bush to kick off book fair in Miami".