Happytown: A requieum for a Twinkie, more on elections aftermath 

Hostess goes out of business and takes 280 Orlando jobs with it, Gov. Rick Scott demands some answers about who made this elections mess, the final tallies on the amendment votes

Florida's 2012 election fiasco – characterized by old people with oxygen tanks standing in line for hours for a chance to cast their ballots in a voting abacus-machine – has elicited more than a few eyerolls of regret among those charged with explaining the mess. Immediately following the Nov. 6 exercise in democracy, the state's supervisors of elections were scrambling to justify faulty absentee ballots, razor-thin margin recounts, "provisional" ballot nightmares and the appearance of being callous enough to force the masses to exhaust themselves standing in those long lines.

So once again, we become a national joke – only this time without a meaningful punch line. Thanks for nothing, turkeys!

And so it was that on Nov. 14, Gov. Rick Scott's press machine launched into reformative action with a media release announcing, without so much as a po-faced apology, that the state was going to take this whole thing much more seriously upon review.

"I have asked [Florida Secretary of State Ken] Detzner to meet most immediately with those election supervisors who experienced lines in excess of four hours and those who took several days to tabulate votes and report results," Scott is quoted most officially as saying. "Floridians should not have to wait several days for the results of a major presidential election to be tabulated because of the delays in a few counties when the majority of counties – including major metropolitan areas – have been counted."

See what he did there? Somewhere, a messenger was just killed. You'll recall that Scott was the man behind pushing HB 1355, the loveable suffrage bundle that urged the purge and cut early voting (among other obscenities) in 2011, falling directly in line with other national Republican efforts to make voting a dreadful option. Some were expecting the post-haze announcement to address these issues, and even correct them. Two days prior to the governor's missive, coalitions of groups including the AFL-CIO, the League of Women Voters of Florida and Florida New Majority Education Fund were making noise about how fucked up the whole logjam had become.

"It's increasingly coming out that this was not just a case of misadministration or bad management," Florida New Majority executive director Gihan Perera said, according to the Palm Beach Post.

So, that "most immediate" meeting with county supervisors did happen (in a closed-to-the-public fashion, natch), and guess what? Nobody blinked. The Miami Herald reports that culpability from the state was not on the menu Wednesday. Instead, Detzner – meeting with precinct leaders from rural areas that don't really matter, because they are the leaders of the state association – brainstormed some malleable pith about how to look like the state really cared. Specifically, the group thought county supervisors should have more leeway in their choice of early voting sites. Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles, who was not in attendance, says that "location, location, location" is actually an issue, because a lot of libraries aren't equipped to handle masses of people, so there's that. Also, hilariously, the group concluded that the ballots shouldn't be so damn long. In other news, didn't we just reap the fruits of reducing democracy? Just a thought.

At least four amendments were proposed to HB 1355 – one by our own outgoing state Rep. Scott Randolph – that predicted this conundrum rather neatly. None of those amendments were passed. That hasn't stopped others from pressing the issue again for next year's legislative session. In a bill announced on Wednesday, state Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, intends to press for restoring the early voting days back to 14 and allowing non-federal buildings to be utilized for that polling.

"Florida was the laughingstock of the nation again this year when it came to voting," Rouson said at a Nov. 14 press conference also attended by tan, party-hopping machine Charlie Crist. "We ought to be tired of that." We are!

Speaking of shit sandwiches, you may have smelled a lot of mold last week when things came to a head between corporate and union interests involved in some sort of yeast infraction at the local Merita bread plant. Merita, which is a subsidiary of Hostess (Twinkies! Wonder Bread!), employs hundreds at its odorous Orlando warehouse on Division Street, some of whom were taking part in a nationwide strike against Hostess because of the company's apparent disregard for agreed-upon pension and salary agreements. News spread that if said striking employees – members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union, both nationally and locally – did not return to work by 5 p.m. on Nov. 15, the company would have to stomp on a Twinkie and shut down. A bit of David and Goliath followed, with the union basically standing its ground because Hostess has bluffed before, and then it happened: On Nov. 16, Hostess went through with the shut-down plan to can 18,500 employees nationwide.

What may have been lost in the obvious metaphor of an economy in the shitter is the fact that Hostess, a company that had filed for bankruptcy back in January (for the second time!) with assets of nearly $1 billion, was already in the process of restructuring, with Merita most certainly going up for sale. Back in August, the Associated Press reported as much, and according to the union, the rest of the Hostess brands were hotly tipped to follow. So, basically the whole corporate chorus of Papa John's/Denny's woes suited Hostess' inevitable public bow, so the company decided to take one last jab at labor to make itself look duly victimized. Nobody wins! Happy Thanksgiving.

Amendments Results

Despite what seemed like an orchestrated attempt to confuse people into voting for a bunch of things they didn't really want, the state failed to pass eight of the 11 constitutional amendments it put on the ballot this year. People keep asking us what the tallies were on the ballot-amendment votes, and we aim to please, so here's the breakdown in voting percentages. Remember, to pass, an amendment needed to get 60 percent of the vote:

Amendment 1: To declare it unconstitutional to make people purchase health care (aka, the anti-Obamacare amendment).
Yes: 48.5 percent
No: 51.5 percent.
Result: Not passed

Amendment 2: Property-tax discounts for disabled veterans
Yes: 63.26 percent
No: 36.74 percent
Result: Passed

Amendment 3: State government revenue limitation
Yes: 42.44 percent
No: 57.56 percent
Result: Not passed

Amendment 4: Reduction of property taxes
Yes: 43.18 percent
No: 58.82 percent
Result: Not passed

Amendment 5: Give state legislature more power over state Supreme Court
Yes: 36.95 percent
No: 63.05 percent
Result: Not Passed

Amendment 6: Restricting funding for abortions
Yes: 44.91 percent
No: 55.09 percent
Result: Not passed

Amendment 8: Religious Freedom
Yes: 44.53 percent
No: 55.47 percent
Result: Not passed

Amendment 9: Property tax exemption for widows of first responders and veterans
Yes: 61.68
No: 38.32
Result: Passed

Amendment 10: Personal property tax exemption
Yes: 45.49 percent
No: 54.51 percent
Result: Not passed

Amendment 11: Property tax exemption for low-income seniors
Yes: 61.26 percent
No: 38.74 percent
Result: Passed

Amendment 12: Student body president
Yes: 41.55 percent
No: 58.45 percent
Result: Not passed

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