On today's BradCast, "this is not normal, this is not politics as usual", Michelle Obama declared. But, at least in Palm Beach County, FL, after last week's hurricane, the top election official says she's ready for whatever storm may be coming. [Audio to the complete show is linked below.]
I'm joined today by Susan Bucher, Palm Beach County, FL Supervisor of Elections, to discuss preparations for late voter registrations following Hurricane Matthew and what she suspects may be record turnout in Early and Election Day voting. She describes yesterday's court order to extend the registration period until October 18th as "a victory for all Floridians," and says that, despite the tight deadlines now before early voting begins on October 24th, her county is ready.
"We're a tough state, we're a tough county --- and we've been working overtime for a month to make sure we're ready for the big push. We opened our doors on the holiday on Monday. We were just slammed with lots of people all day. We opened early, we stayed late. All of our employees have been working overtime. We will get it done before early voting starts," she vows.
"Millennials now outnumber senior citizens and nearly half the voters under 30 are Latino or African-American," Bucher explains. "And, especially after the last debate, we saw a very large push of citizens out there. There are young people registering voters and bringing us stacks [of registrations] that are a foot deep. People are very anxious about this election. We have 880,000 voters and, let me tell you, I have never seen it so supercharged as I see it now. The last Presidential turnout was 70 percent. We're setting up for about 80-85 and maybe more."
Her county was, before she arrived eight years ago, made infamous for its Butterfly Ballot disaster during Florida's 2000 Presidential election debacle, one of the "original sins" leading us directly to the poisonous politics of the 2016 Presidential Election, as I detail once again on today's show. But Bucher says she ready, as we revisit more recent disasters in her county and state, such as Republican Governor Rick Scott's failed attempt to unlawfully purge thousands of legitimate voters from the rolls in 2012; the 6-hour long lines to vote that same year, after Scott cut the number of Early Voting days in half; and the paper ballot computer tabulators which incorrectly reported the results of three races in Palm Beach, declaring losing candidates to be "winners" back in 2010.
(Bucher tells me the software failures in those Sequoia tabulators have now been corrected in her county, but says she has many checks and balances in place, and is ready to go to court to get approval once again for hand-counting, if necessary, as she did in 2010 when she happened to notice the strange results. The state does not allow a hand-count of paper ballots without a court order. "It's unfortunate that it always takes court action with this Governor and this Secretary [of State] but if that's what works, then that's what we need to do," she tells me, going on to describe the recent conference call with the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security regarding concerns of hacks to voting and registration systems in the Sunshine State and elsewhere around the country.)
Meanwhile, in Georgia, as in Florida, voting rights groups filed suit to extend the voter registration deadline there as well, following mandatory evacuations over the final weekend of voter registration.
Also today, hear them roar: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) excoriates Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf for a lack of accountability, despite the announcement of his resignation after admitting fraudulent practices at the nation's largest bank. Then, Michelle Obama delivers a blistering speech condemning sexual harassment in the wake of Hurricane Trump, as an avalanche of women come forward to detail disturbing allegations against the Republican Presidential nominee. We offer an extended excerpt from her remarks at a New Hampshire rally today.
Finally: Desi Doyen, who also has a thought or two on Michelle's remarks and the allegations against Trump, brings us the latest, very busy, Green News Report...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)