Florida's Senate race heads to a hand recount

The Florida Senate race is headed to a hand recount after a machine review of the initial vote kept Democrat...

Posted: Nov 16, 2018 11:45 AM
Updated: Nov 16, 2018 11:45 AM

The Florida Senate race is headed to a hand recount after a machine review of the initial vote kept Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson narrowly behind his challenger, Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

But even though a recount will keep Nelson in the fight for at least another few days, his odds of winning might have been further narrowed on Thursday, when the machine recount — which ended at the 3 p.m. deadline — yielded a few dozen more votes for Scott, whose lead now stands at more than 12,600, or 0.15%.

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The race for governor remained outside the 0.25% margin required for a hand recount, meaning Republican former Rep. Ron DeSantis will likely be the state's next chief executive over Democrat Andrew Gillum. The Tallahassee mayor, who picked up a single vote in the recount, revoked his concession last weekend and said on Thursday he would continue to push for all votes to be counted.

Election boards across the state have been using voting machines to recount ballots this week, with some of the larger counties working all day and through the night. When Thursday's deadline hit, three statewide races -- the contests between Nelson and Scott for Senate; Gillum and DeSantis for governor; and Republican Matt Caldwell and Democrat Nikki Fried for agriculture commissioner -- were within the .5% margin required for a statewide machine recount.

Both the Senate and agricultural commissioner races are now headed to hand review of overvotes and undervotes, a more narrowly circumscribed but also potentially volatile pool of votes. These are ballots where the voter appeared to tick off more candidates than allowed (overvotes) or on which they voted for fewer candidates than allowed (undervotes).

Not all the counties met the deadline.

Palm Beach County failed to meet the recount deadline, meaning last week's unofficial count out of the county is the one that it will take into the next phase of recounts. In Broward County, the director of elections announced they uploaded their new recount totals to the secretary of state two minutes past the deadline, resulting in the secretary of state not accepting them and instead using Broward's first unofficial results from before the recount.

Hillsborough County said it did a full machine recount but chose to report its initial numbers, which were higher in aggregate, because the figures were so similar.

Hours before the machine recount cutoff, a federal judge in Tallahassee rejected a Democratic motion to extend the deadline beyond 3 p.m.

Nelson's campaign and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had argued that all recount deadlines should be lifted for however long the counties determined necessary to conclude their work.

"The Florida legislature chose to define emergency narrowly -- only as an event that results or may result in substantial injury or harm to the population or substantial damage to or loss of property," Judge Mark Walker wrote in explaining his decision. "The emergency exception does not apply in this case, where the delay is the result of outdated and malfunctioning vote-counting technology."

Palm Beach County has been hampered repeatedly by faltering machinery and shoddy infrastructure.

Susan Bucher, the county's supervisor of elections, told reporters on Thursday she would take "full responsibility" if the county failed — as it eventually did -- to meet Thursday's deadline.

"It was not for lack of human effort ... it was so incredible, and I thank everybody who participated," she said. Bucher had told reporters a little more than 24 hours earlier that she was in "prayer mode." That seemed to be an upgrade on her predictions from earlier in the week, when on Sunday, hours after the recount began, she said that completing it on time would be "impossible."

Bucher's worries were compounded on Tuesday when the county's old and overheated machines malfunctioned, forcing officials to start their recount of early votes from scratch. By Wednesday, the already distant hopes of an on-time finish seemed to be slipping away.

CNN observed long stretches of inaction on the floor of the cavernous facility which has been occupied by reporters, lawyers and operatives from both parties, and volunteers who have been working -- when the hardware complies -- day and night.

Democratic attorney Marc Elias announced new legal action on Twitter fewer than 90 minutes after the deadline passed.

"We have sued Palm Beach County and the Florida Sec of State to require a hand count of all ballots in the county due to systematic machine failure during the machine recount," Nelson's top recount lawyer said.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 487374

Reported Deaths: 6589
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1011101588
Ramsey43212805
Dakota36478392
Anoka33391390
Washington22156259
Stearns18774202
St. Louis14838264
Scott13354107
Wright12554116
Olmsted1183389
Sherburne876173
Carver779840
Clay693687
Rice671591
Blue Earth598335
Kandiyohi580174
Crow Wing522382
Chisago500345
Otter Tail484370
Benton448290
Winona419349
Mower408131
Douglas393668
Goodhue387569
Nobles387147
Polk344363
McLeod340250
Beltrami338651
Morrison325647
Itasca314046
Lyon313644
Becker313142
Isanti307656
Steele302311
Carlton300149
Freeborn284124
Pine282416
Nicollet260441
Todd248930
Brown246137
Le Sueur236920
Mille Lacs228547
Cass220724
Waseca209717
Meeker207934
Martin190328
Wabasha18673
Roseau180717
Hubbard160741
Houston158014
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Fillmore13838
Pennington137016
Chippewa136735
Cottonwood135420
Wadena131320
Faribault124017
Aitkin119133
Watonwan11768
Sibley117310
Rock115814
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Pipestone101724
Yellow Medicine97717
Murray9498
Jackson94010
Swift87918
Pope8085
Marshall78015
Stevens7448
Lake74218
Clearwater71914
Lac qui Parle68616
Wilkin67711
Koochiching62011
Big Stone5163
Lincoln5122
Grant4918
Norman4788
Unassigned44468
Mahnomen4417
Kittson40921
Red Lake3625
Traverse3105
Lake of the Woods2201
Cook1180

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 335795

Reported Deaths: 5478
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk51900558
Linn19487315
Scott17120211
Black Hawk14939293
Woodbury13798214
Johnson1313875
Dubuque12431195
Dallas1020292
Pottawattamie9844146
Story961945
Warren512776
Clinton501584
Cerro Gordo499583
Webster494988
Sioux479469
Marshall463773
Des Moines427861
Muscatine424693
Buena Vista412637
Wapello4035108
Jasper386767
Plymouth368378
Lee354453
Marion340670
Jones285055
Henry279837
Bremer269755
Carroll266749
Crawford252835
Boone243130
Benton240454
Washington238847
Mahaska215646
Jackson209938
Dickinson203040
Tama202665
Kossuth198755
Delaware185840
Clay184125
Winneshiek183028
Fayette179135
Page177819
Buchanan177529
Wright174131
Hamilton173842
Cedar171723
Hardin169739
Harrison167469
Clayton160054
Butler159031
Floyd148141
Mills148120
Poweshiek148030
Cherokee145836
Lyon145541
Allamakee143648
Madison142418
Iowa139823
Hancock137830
Grundy132230
Winnebago130531
Calhoun129411
Cass129051
Jefferson128334
Appanoose123347
Louisa122343
Mitchell120540
Chickasaw119615
Union118831
Sac118618
Shelby117033
Emmet115240
Humboldt113625
Franklin109119
Guthrie109028
Palo Alto101221
Howard99321
Montgomery96836
Clarke94920
Keokuk92329
Monroe89628
Ida81432
Adair81329
Pocahontas80919
Monona76427
Davis76323
Greene73110
Lucas71621
Osceola68315
Worth6677
Taylor64112
Decatur5699
Fremont5599
Van Buren53818
Ringgold50520
Audubon4769
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