election 2012 | November 08, 2012

What's Up with Florida? Carl Hiaasen on the State's Chronic Voting Issues [VIDEO]

"We specialize in prolonging everything," Carl Hiaasen tells CBS Morning of his native Sunshine State. "We can't seem to figure out how to count a ballot—it could be years before we know how Florida went in this election." Not surprisingly, Florida still has yet to tabulate their election results—even though the election was two days ago and we already know that President Obama has been re-elected for a second term. It's almost a repeat of the 2000 election all over again, except that this time, the Florida outcome doesn't determine the winner. Something, Hiaasen quips, all the residents are quite relieved about. "We're in a state of euphoria right now because it didn't come down to us," he jokes.

As a long-term resident of the state, as well as a columnist and investigative reporter for the Miami Herald, Hiassen is a prominent voice on life in Florida. He has been chronicling the state for years, both in his non-fiction journalism and in his hilariously satirical fiction books. While he notes that cutting the early election time from two weeks down to only one week had some part in the disorganized nature of the voting in Florida, he said there's "no excuse" for the state to not be able to get their voting practices in order. Despite the problems they have with tallying ballots, however, Hiassen notes that the state is very involved in the democratic process. "You saw how eager people were to vote," Hiassen said. "People [were] lining up until one-thirty in the morning to cast a ballot—it's pretty extraordinary."

The three-time Pulitzer Prize-nominee has written numerous bestsellers on the people and politics of the state, such as Nature Girl, Tourist Season, and Skinny Dip (which has just been optioned for film by Mike Nichols, the Academy Award-winning director of The Graduate). In his keynotes, he provides scathing critiques wrapped in relatable humor that dig to the heart of the big issues—without alienating his audience or dismissing his love for his native state.

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social change | November 07, 2012