Florida recount 2018: What has changed since 2000? Old equipment, old laws add to problems

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

What you need to know: Brenda Snipes, Broward County’s supervisor of elections

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Old equipment and old laws are adding to the problems with Florida's vote recount, even after the 2000 recount that delayed the outcome of the presidential election for more than a month.

It's been almost two decades since the last recount finally ended with the U.S. Supreme Court stepping in, ultimately handing Florida's electoral votes – and the election – to George W. Bush.

The embarrassment of those days ended with the state taking a hard look at voting. Then-Gov. Jeb Bush fought for state and federal dollars to modernize the system.

>> On WFTV.com: Florida recount: Click here for live updates from across the state

After this week, it may be time to fight again.

"The county needs funding, but we also need the state and feds to be partners in it," said Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles.

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Cowles got $700,000 from the county late last year to buy better sorting machines for ballots, but not all of Florida's 67 counties have the same resources. Palm Beach County, for example, uses equipment that's almost two decades old.

Palm Beach County said Tuesday it may not be able to meet the Thursday deadline to complete the machine recounts.

Which brings us to the other antiquated part of Florida voting: the timeline.

The timeline for the primary, general election, and reporting of votes is set by the legislature and has been largely unchanged for decades, even as Florida has grown to be the third-largest state in the country.

"The timeline we are on has been in for so long and it doesn't reflect the way we are voting today," Cowles said.

>> On WFTV.com: Here's a running list of the lawsuits filed in the Florida midterm election

Cowles said Orange County will make the deadline this week, but warns between the quick timeline and old equipment in other larger counties, some may not.

Earlier this year, Florida received $19.2 million in federal election security money. However, that money was mainly designed to fortify voting systems against cyberthreats, not buy new equipment.

Debates over the timeline for voting and vote counts will need to be addressed by the legislature.