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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Eighteen years after hanging chads and the Brooks Brothers riot, the Sunshine State is once again at the center of an election mess of its own doing.

The big picture: Florida is in the middle of three statewide recounts, and three counties in particular (Palm Beach, Hillsborough and Broward) haven't helped the situation.

  • “We have been the laughingstock of the world, election after election, and we chose not to fix this,” U.S. District Judge Mark Walker said today while rejecting a request to extend the state deadline for counties to submit their machine recount results.

Driving the news: Broward finished its recount just minutes before the deadline, the Miami Herald reports.

  • Palm Beach County missed the deadline, along with several smaller counties.
  • Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa, won't submit its results after a recount "turned up 846 fewer than originally counted," the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Between the lines: The state's election infrastructure is a disaster.

  • Ballots tossed out for signature mismatches: Judge Walker ruled today "that voters whose ballots were invalidated by [signature] mismatches would have until 5 p.m. Saturday to resolve the problem. The new deadline would apply to just over 4,000 rejected ballots that could now be counted." [N.Y. Times]
  • Poorly designed ballots: Nearly 25,000 people voted for governor but not the Senate in Broward County, which "put the Senate race in the bottom left-hand corner, below the instructions." [Sun-Sentinel]
  • Overheated vote tallying machines: "Meanwhile, problems continued in Palm Beach County, where tallying machines overheated while working overtime. That caused mismatched results with the recount of 174,000 early voting ballots, forcing workers to go back and redo their work." [AP]

The bottom line: The recount drama is especially significant in Florida's Senate race, Axios' Khorri Atkinson reports.

  • Gov. Rick Scott is leading Sen. Bill Nelson by fewer than 13,000 votes. Scott immediately filed an appeal Thursday challenging Warner's decision to allow Florida to potentially count ballots with mismatched signatures.

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel almost resigned over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel almost resigned in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelations stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

NRA declares bankruptcy, says it will reincorporate in Texas

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) speaks during CPAC in 2016. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will seek to reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment."

The big picture: The move comes just months after New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.