Florida secretary of state orders recount for 3 Florida elections

Votes for Senate, governor and agriculture commissioner to be recounted

By Anna Johnson - Digital Journalist

A recount is officially happening in three of Florida's most prominent elections.

Around 1:30 p.m. Saturday, the secretary of state ordered a machine recount for the U.S. Senate race between Gov. Rick Scott and incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, the Florida gubernatorial race between Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Ron DeSantis and the Florida agriculture commissioner race between Matt Caldwell and Nikki Fried.

The recount is required by Florida law if results show a less than 0.5 percentage point vote difference between two candidates. Saturday's unofficial returns show Nelson trailing Scott by 12,562 votes, just 0.15 of a percentage point of the over 8.1 million received. Gillum is 33,684 votes behind DeSantis, making the race divided by 0.41 of a percentage point. Caldwell, with 4,025,011 votes, has the narrowest margin, only a 0.06 of a percentage point difference from Fried's 4,030,337 votes.

Results from the recount will comprise the second unofficial results, which are due to the secretary of state by Thursday. If those result in a less than 0.25 percent difference between the two candidates, then a hand recount will be ordered.

The recount will be conducted by machine, meaning workers will reload every ballot into the county's vote tabulators. If there are ballots with overvotes or undervotes, meaning a voter selected either too many or too few options, they will be set aside. If a hand recount is ordered, those ballots will be checked manually.

Gillum "replaced" his concession speech Saturday after the recount was announced with a call to count every vote. DeSantis has not released a public statement on the possibility of a recount, but President Donald Trump, who endorsed DeSantis, has commented on the recount via his tweets.

"Mayor Gillum conceded on Election Day and now Broward County has put him 'back into play,'" Trump said in a tweet Friday. "Bill Nelson conceded Election - now he’s back in play!? This is an embarrassment to our Country and to Democracy!"

Scott and Nelson have both had very different reactions to the possibility of a recount.

Scott has publicly decried it and has brought lawsuits against both the Broward County and Palm Beach County supervisors of elections, alleging that both offices mismanaged votes. Caldwell followed with his own lawsuit, asking the court to "determine if Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes illegally included ballots after polls closed."

A judge ruled in favor of Scott on Friday, ordering Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes to turn over her ballot collection records. However, officials from Scott's office said Saturday that Snipes refused to confirm whether or not more ballots exist that need to be counted.

Nelson is suing Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner over vote-by-mail ballots and the process used to validate them. Nelson's lawyer said the signature-matching process involved in confirming votes is faulty and could allow actual ballots to be counted as provisional.

Officials from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Friday that their office has not received any allegations of voter fraud from the Florida Department of State. 

Official returns of votes are scheduled to be reviewed by Scott, as the current governor, Nov. 20.

 

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