By Pam Martens: November 7, 2012
America woke up this morning to the news that President Obama had been reelected to a second term, despite the 29 electoral votes in Florida still being too close to call for either candidate. As for Congress, it will remain split, with Republicans controlling the House and Democrats in charge in the Senate.
Florida was still counting votes due to a heavy turnout in Miami-Dade County which saw people still in line to vote after midnight. About 38 percent of Florida voters, or roughly 4.5 million people, had cast their ballots in early voting before the polls opened on Tuesday.
Fears that the Republican operation, Strategic Allied Consulting, run by Arizona Republican Nathan Sproul, would play a corrupting role in the election in Florida did not appear to pan out. That could be, however, because of the early detection of fraudulent voter registration forms in Palm Beach County, which then set off similar investigations in at least 10 other counties in Florida. Poll monitors representing Democrats were out in force throughout pivotal Florida precincts.
There were some voting problems in Florida. Voters at the First Baptist Church in Delray Beach who had shown up before the 7 a.m. opening of the polls to get an early start, ended up waiting in line for two more hours when it was discovered that the wrong first page of the ballot had been delivered in error. In Pinellas County, automated calls that had gone out on Monday to remind voters they had to get their mail ballots turned in by “7 p.m. tomorrow” mistakenly continued the next day, misleading voters to believe they could turn the ballots in on Wednesday. Officials there said once the error was detected, calls immediately went out to correct the faulty information.
Florida weather was ideal for a large voter turnout, with a light breeze and balmy temperatures in the high 70s or low 80s. That stood in sharp contrast to the conditions faced by Staten Islanders in New York City, where Hurricane Sandy had decimated their homes and polling places. Still grieving the loss of neighbors and family members, Staten Islanders stood in 40 degree weather to vote in a dark tent. A replica of that scene played out in Rockaway, Queens.
But the image that will live in infamy for this moment in history, where a hurricane disaster placed incredible hurdles in the path of citizens already severely politically displaced by the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, allowing unlimited campaign spending by corporations, is the photo of the Goldman Sachs’ headquarters posted at www.OccupyWallSt.org. As middle class homeowners drowned in one-story bungalows in the darkness on Staten Island, and survivors were neglected for days with no food, no heat and no lights until national media brought their plight to the attention of the world – the Goldman Sachs building in lower Manhattan, with its windows glowing with light, demonstrated starkly the difference between the 99 percent and the 1 percent in today’s America.