Midterms 2018

Florida Teacher Discovers ‘Provisional Ballot Box’ in Storage Room

Outrageous, all these days after midterms ended — extra votes could flip results of two key elections in Sunshine State

A Florida teacher found and reported a box containing potentially uncounted ballots on Thursday — two full days after extremely close midterm elections in the Sunshine State.

Schoolteacher Lakeisha Williams of Miramar Elementary School told the New York Post, “I went into the area that we use for storage and saw it in there.”

The provisional ballot box was apparently left behind by election workers earlier in the week.

Williams did not open or look inside the box — and instead told the principal about it.

The principal then contacted a local state representative.

One big problem: The provisional ballots needed to be received by county officials before 5 p.m. on Thursday.

The extra ballots could potentially make a difference — with both the state senatorial and gubernatorial race results so close.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott led Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson by just 17,000 votes at 0.2 percent of the vote for the Senate seat.

Related: Progressive Agenda on Horizon if Florida Voters Choose Gillum

Republican Ron DeSantis was leading Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (shown above, at the top of this article) by about 30,000 votes at 0.4 percent to become governor.

Gillum is also considering the possibility of seeking a recount now, in response to his close but failed bid.

He was down by just one percentage point when he conceded defeat in a tough election battle that went late into the night on Tuesday.

But that already small loss has since narrowed even more.

Scott filed a lawsuit in response to the growing effort among liberals to push for recounts.

Scott and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) are alleging that officials there are hiding critical information about the number of votes cast and counted in the Democrat-heavy district of Broward County, Fox News reported. They also argue that the election supervisor in Palm Beach County illegally assumed voter intent when reviewing damaged or incorrect absentee ballots.

The RealClearPolitics (RCP) polling average had showed DeSantis struggling in the polls during the months leading up to the election. He was trailing by 2.5 to 4.5 percentage points but was eventually able to bridge that gap to about one percentage point in the middle of October.

Gillum was among the handful of up-and-coming Democratic candidates who have pursued a more progressive agenda. He supports impeaching President Donald Trump, abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, and backing taxpayer-funded Medicare for All.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is among the notable progressives and self-described socialists who backed his campaign.

Related: Bernie Sanders Claims Racism Fueled GOP Gubernatorial Victories 

“This is the United States of America. Why are we still counting votes days after the election was over?” Fox News host Laura Ingraham said on Friday morning on “The Laura Ingraham Show” about this issue.

“These provisional ballots that they set aside … ‘Oh, we’ll count it if we need it.'”

“They can’t count all of the votes, the most powerful country on the earth, in 24 hours?” she added. “It is a complete travesty.”

The midterms overall drew a considerable amount of attention. The Center for Responsive Politics released a report last week projecting that the current midterm elections would be the most expensive ever, at more than $5.2 billion. President Trump held dozens of rallies across the country to stir support for conservative candidates in the midterms.

Ingraham also said on Friday morning of the activities in Florida, “Still counting votes [today] — give me a break.”

meet the author

Connor D. Wolf covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at [email protected].