Panic is setting in on the right over claims that St. Lucie County Florida election results show “141% voter turnout.” What they are referencing is the following document:
Notice how in the far right column, under the heading “% Turnout” the percentages in most polling locations are over 100%? This is the cause of the panic. Michael Savage made a statement on the issue, but you will notice in the “update” at the top of his post below he appears to be walking it back a bit.
He’s right; it can’t be that blatant, and it wasn’t. Savage would have to think that the people in charge of elections in St. Lucie County are complete idiots to post an election results document in which the first page advertises that they counted more votes than there were actual voters. Also remember that the entire state level political machinery in the state of Florida is run by Republicans, and if there was a legitimate issue we would have heard about it long before today. So what exactly is going on here?
According to the website tcpalm.com, St. Lucie County voters were presented with a two page ballot which contained all of the national and state races as well as 11 constitutional amendments. A sample ballot is available from the St. Lucie County Department of Elections. An examination of this ballot makes clear what is being reported in the document the right is so up in arms about. The ballot was printed on two sides of a single page, and it appears that each side of each ballot had to be scanned separately. While admittedly confusing, the “Cards Cast” column counts the total number of scans, not the total number of ballots cast. Obviously a substantial number of voters either only filled out one side of the ballot, or they filled out both sides but failed to scan one side or the other; otherwise the totals in the “Cards Cast” column would be even higher. The pertinent information regarding voter turnout can be found beginning on page three of the “Statement of Votes Cast” document. On those pages it is plain to see that in every precinct the number of votes cast for president is less than the total number of registered voters in that precinct. St. Lucie County has 175,554 registered voters. The total number of votes cast in Tuesday’s election for president in St. Lucie County was, by my count 123,591.
Given the comment at the end of Savage’s Facebook post, it appears very likely that this most recent tempest in a tea pot has more to do with Allen West’s loss to Patrick Murphy than it does with anything else. Could West be preparing a charge of election fraud to try and call for a new vote on his congressional seat, or is the right using this as another way to try and cast doubt on the electoral process in general? Regardless, once these claims are examined by more observers it is likely that this issue will die a quiet death, just like so many other issues that have caused panic on the right in recent times.