Bucher calls recount deadline "impossible," may have to certify original results

A judge has ruled that the Florida election recount has to be finished by Thursday. So at least this will all be over in a few days, right? You might want to hold your horses on that one. Yesterday, Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher (whose vote-counting history we’ve highlighted here before) told CNN that it was going to be “impossible” for her to meet the deadline. In a separate interview later, she went so far as to suggest that they may have to scrap the recount and just certify the original election results. (The Hill)

The Palm Beach County, Fla., elections supervisor says it is “impossible” to finish the three Florida election recounts by the Thursday deadline.

“It’s impossible,” Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher told CNN, responding to a question about whether officials would be able to finish the recount on time.

Palm Beach County is one of the most critical counties in the state, alongside Broward County.

The first round of machine recounts is supposed to be completed by Thursday, setting up a bitter fight to the finish in Florida’s races for Senate, governor and agriculture commissioner.

So why can’t Palm Beach County (and Broward) finish their work on time if 65 other counties are able to meet the deadline? Last night, Bucher told WPBF News that the delays were the fault of “archaic voting machines.”

“Frankly, it’s just irresponsible of the state of Florida to certify equipment that does not meet the intent of the law,” Bucher said…

“Our tabulating equipment does not calculate more than one election at a time,” Bucher said. Republican Chair Michael Barnett tells WPBF that’s an excuse.

“We have 65 out 67 counties that have accomplished their job under the law. It’s not about the law, it’s about the competence and the equipment and the process being employed in Broward and Palm Beach County,”

It’s possible that Bucher has a point and she claims that she received funding for new machines but couldn’t deploy them because of a “change in legislation.” The nature of the change wasn’t specified. But if that’s the case, why are we still dealing with it now? They knew there were problems with these machines and they’ve known it for years. They ran into more problems of a similar nature during that Debbie Wasserman-Schultz primary that went off the rails. Bucher says she’s already received the money for new machines but they still somehow couldn’t get them out in the field with more than two years notice?

It’s apparently too late for that now. But perhaps the biggest bombshell in that interview was Bucher saying that if she can’t finish the counts by the Thursday deadline, “the state will go with Saturday’s election results and that would be final.”

I’m not sure how serious she’s being here. Surely Bucher is aware that if that’s the final decision there will be lawsuits filed by the Democrats raining down like a monsoon. Do we just wind up with a new deadline from another judge at that point? At this rate, it’s no longer clear if there will even be a new Senator or Governor from Florida to swear in by January.

One thing remains clear at this point, however. There are a few counties in southeastern Florida where there are major questions about both the equipment they are using and the people overseeing the handling of elections. Both humans and machines probably need to be replaced, and the residents of Florida deserve better answers than they are getting.

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