Nov 15, 2018

Axios PM

Mike Allen

Situational awareness: President Trump plans to travel to California on Saturday to meet with individuals who have been impacted by the wildfires that have ravaged the state.

1 big thing: "Laughingstock" USA

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.
Bonus: Pic du jour

Photo: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

Vladimir Putin and Mike Pence on the sidelines of the 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Singapore.

2. What you missed
  1. How Zuck spent his day: The Facebook CEO addressed questions about yesterday's big N.Y. Times story and Facebook's relationship with Definers, the research firm. Go deeper.
  2. British PM Theresa May vowed to "see this through" when asked how she would handle a potential vote of no confidence over her proposed Brexit deal. Go deeper.
  3. Republicans now hold zero House seats in New England, following Democrat Jared Golden's victory over Rep. Bruce Poliquin in Maine's 2nd district. Go deeper.
  4. The conservative One America News Network is breaking with most media organizations by supporting the White House against CNN in the legal battle over correspondent Jim Acosta's suspended press badge. Go deeper.
  5. The White House is exploring options for expelling Fethullah Gulen, the Turkish cleric accused by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of orchestrating an attempted coup in 2016, in hopes that Erdogan lets up pressure on the Saudis over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, NBC News reports.
3. 1 fun thing

Jello-O is getting into the "slime trend," Vox's Kaitlyn Tiffany reports.

  • "Slime is basically just a gooey fidget toy, and its stardom is predicated on people filming themselves playing with it."
  • "Kids love it because kids love goop."
  • "Adults love it because, as ASMR expert Craig Richard told Wired this spring, we love hands: 'We’re hardwired to be entranced by hand movements. We evolved to learn fine motor skills by watching what someone else is doing with their hands, because the benefit of that is you just might learn something.'"

Dive in.

Mike Allen