161K Invalid Votes Cast in Fla. Trump Only Won by 113K Votes

Invalid votes spike in Florida
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 2, 2017 5:54 PM CST
Beyonce, Tebow for Prez? Invalid Votes Spiked in Florida
In this Oct. 24, 2016 file photo, people vote at a polling station on the first day of early voting in Miami-Dade County for the general election.   (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

(Newser) – Beyonce, Tim Tebow, or the Norse god Thor for prez? Those were some of Florida's more unusual picks for president this past election. And the number of Florida voters who didn't cast a vote for either Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or any other valid contender spiked in 2016, apparently in protest over the ballot choices, the AP reports. A report released by state officials Wednesday showed more than 161,000 Florida voters who took part in the elections either at the polls or by mail didn't cast a valid vote for president. The "non-valid votes" include those who wrote in such names as Mickey Mouse or Bernie Sanders and others who simply left the ballot blank. It also includes those who voted for more than one candidate.

All told, the invalid ballots outnumbered Trump's margin of victory over Clinton of nearly 113,000 votes. And the rate of invalid votes for president in 2016—1.69% overall—was more than double the rate it was in 2012 and 2008 when Barack Obama won the state. "There were some people who were very disgruntled," said Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles, giving the read of some fellow election officials on the report. Florida's report—compiled from data collected by all 67 counties—is required after every major election. It got its start after the chaotic 2000 presidential election, which hinged on a contentious recount in Florida famously involving "hanging chads" and more. (Read more Election 2016 stories.)

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