Just 21,888 votes out of 8.2 million separate Sen. Bill Nelson and Gov. Rick Scott in the Florida Senate race. And the margin continues to narrow — it was at nearly 60,000 on election night and 34,000 Wednesday afternoon.
The thing is clear: This race is headed to a recount. Scott, the Republican, leads Nelson, the Democrat, by 0.26 percentage points. That is well within the margin for a machine recount (0.5 percent) and very close to the threshold for a recount by hand (0.25 percent).
If the statewide margin then falls below 0.25 percentage points, Detzner will order a manual recount in each county. Rejected ballots will be examined by counting teams to determine if the voters intentions were obvious. If either side objects to a counting teams decision or the team cant make a decision, the ballot will be forwarded to the countys canvassing board, with the three members voting on the final decision. The members are the county supervisor of elections, a judge and the chair of the county commissioners.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Legal wrangling began in earnest in Florida on Thursday, as top political campaigns girded for the possibility of lengthy and expensive vote recounts in a Senate race that remains too close to call and, unexpectedly, also in the closely contested governors race.
Florida governors race faces recount as Senate race gets even tighter – NY Daily News
Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, claimed victory in the Senate contest on Tuesday against Senator Bill Nelson, the Democratic incumbent. But the vote gap between them has only narrowed since then, as the states largest counties have continued to tally ballots that were mailed in or cast on a provisional basis on Election Day.
How Bill Nelson could ultimately win the recount in Floridas Senate race
The gap has also closed in the governors race, which is now in recount territory as well. Andrew Gillum, a Democrat, conceded to Ron DeSantis, a Republican, late Tuesday night, shortly before The Associated Press called the race for Mr. DeSantis. But Mr. DeSantiss victory margin has since shrunk to 0.47 percentage points — three-hundredths of a point below the recount threshold. Mr. DeSantis leads by more than 38,000 votes.
Floridas 67 counties have until noon on Saturday to submit their unofficial vote totals to the states division of elections. Four more contests — for state agriculture commissioner, one State Senate seat and two State House seats — are also likely to be headed for recounts. The lead in the agriculture commissioner race flipped on Thursday afternoon: Nikki Fried, a Democrat, moved ahead of Matt Caldwell, a Republican, by 575 votes.
The highest-profile recount possibility so far, however, is in the United States Senate race. As of Thursday afternoon, 17,344 votes separated Mr. Scott and Mr. Nelson, a difference of 0.22 percentage points. Under Florida law, a margin smaller than 0.5 points prompts a machine recount, and a margin of 0.25 points or less requires a more thorough manual recount.
From where I sit, it is a virtual certainty, said Marc Elias, Mr. Nelsons elections lawyer and a veteran of prominent recounts around the country. I think that it is fair to say right now that the results of the 2018 Senate election are unknown..
Mr. Elias went even further, predicting that outstanding ballots in heavily Democratic Palm Beach and Broward counties would ultimately put Mr. Nelson over the top, though he acknowledged that the campaign does not know how many ballots are left to count.
At the end of this process, we believe Senator Nelson is going to be declared the winner, Mr. Elias said.
Mr. Scotts campaign has dismissed the possibility that Mr. Scott, who won his two races for governor by one percentage point, could lose his lead in the Senate election. In a statement on Thursday, the Scott team called Mr. Elias a hired gun from Washington, D.C., who will try to win an election for Nelson that Nelson has already lost.
Video: Florida Senate Race Headed To Recount
Lets be clear: When Elias says win, he means steal, Mr. Scotts campaign said. It is sad and embarrassing that Bill Nelson would resort to these low tactics after voters have clearly spoken.
Video: Possible recount in Floridas Senate race
Of particular concern to Republicans is the slow pace of counting in Broward, the states second most populous county, where a court ruled in May that the office of the elections supervisor, Brenda Snipes, had illegally destroyed some ballots from a 2016 congressional race.
Dr. Snipes, an elected Democrat, told reporters on Thursday that she could not say how many votes were left to count from this weeks election, only that all mailed-in ballots in the county had already been taken out of their envelopes.
Florida Elections 2018: Scott declares himself the winner while Nelson calls for a recount | WJAX-TV
I think we had over 58 percent of our voters voted, and each voter received a ballot package of either five or six pages, she said when asked about why counting was taking so long. Its volume that causes this.
Results from Broward so far indicate that nearly 25,000 people cast votes for governor but not for senator, even though the Senate race came first on the ballot.
Recount looms larger, legal action begins as margins narrow in key Florida races
Enthusiasm for Mr. Gillums candidacy may account for some of the difference, since- he excited many voters who cared chiefly about electing him. But some Democrats believe that the design of the ballot used in the county played a role: The Senate contest appeared in the bottom left-hand corner of the first page, beneath the instructions to voters, where it may have been easily overlooked. .
Three statewide races appear heading for recounts | WJAX-TV
Mr. Elias said the difference between the votes for Senate and governor in the county was significant, but he refrained from criticizing the ballot layout, at least for now.
Once counties report their unofficial totals to the state on Saturday, Secretary of State Ken Detzner, an appointee of Mr. Scott, will be able to order any of the legally mandated recounts.
A statewide machine recount would have to be completed by 3 p.m. on Nov. 15, Mr. Elias said. If that process yields a margin of less than 0.25 percentage points in any federal or state races, then Mr. Detzner would order manual recounts in those races of what are known as undervotes and overvotes; the recounts would have to be completed by Nov. 18.
In the Senate race, undervotes are ballots on which optical-scanning machines detected a vote for another race down the ballot, like governor or attorney general, but no selection for Senate. Overvotes are ballots on which scanners detected that the voter had marked more than one choice in the race.
Rick Scott Victory Speech: “Im Going To D.C. To Get Something Done”
Florida voters fill in paper ballots by hand using a pen, and no longer cast the punch-card ballots that produced the infamous hanging chads in the 2000 presidential election.
Video: Republican Rick Scott Narrowly Defeats Bill Nelson In Florida Senate Race
Facing national microscope again, Florida braces for several recounts
State Democrats dispatched lawyers to county canvassing boards and sent volunteers to campaign offices to track the counting of provisional ballots. Mr. Gillum addressed supporters on Facebook on Thursday afternoon.
In spite of the fact that were a little bit down in the numbers, were hopeful that every single vote will be counted in this race, he said. That way, all of us can walk away extremely confident about what each and every one of us did.
Im proud to have been elected on Tuesday night, he said in a brief statement to reporters after an event in the town of Hialeah Gardens.
Its a great honor. Were working really hard on the transition. Well let the lawyers do what theyve got to do. But were good, and Im looking forward to serving.
A Centrist and a Liberal Test Florida, and Democrats Everywhere Watch CloselyNov. 5, 2018ImageAdvertisement