Florida Governor's Race Poised for Mandatory Recount

Glen Norman
November 10, 2018

As the Democrat-heavy counties have counted new votes since Tuesday's election, Scott's margin has gotten smaller, now with just 15,000 votes over Nelson.

Gillum had pulled off an upset in the Democratic primary, winning the nomination after consistently polling in third for most of that race, but he was unable to carry that same momentum into the general election. That could be because the question was listed under instructions on Broward's ballot, and some people might have missed it.

Voters have until 5 p.m.to address any outstanding problems with their provisional ballots. But the vote gap between them has only narrowed since then, as the state's largest counties have continued to tally ballots that were mailed in or cast on a provisional basis on Election Day.

The latest returns show Republican candidate Ron DeSantis ahead of Democrat candidate and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by less than 39,000 votes, or 0.47 percent, triggering an automatic recount under Florida state law.

Nikki Fried, a Democratic candidate running for agricultural commissioner, actually leapfrogged over Republican Matt Caldwell to take the lead - leading Caldwell's campaign to howl about "potential corruption".

Trump also said it was possible the federal government could get involved in the Florida vote count.

"Every Floridian should be concerned there may be rampant fraud in Palm Beach and Broward counties", Scott said.

Scott said "unethical liberals" were trying to steal the election in Democratic strongholds of Broward and Palm Beach counties. The senator needs to be within.25% to trigger a required hand recount of all ballots.

Marc Elias, a Washington lawyer representing Nelson, dismissed ballot design as the reason. Rubio said the issues in South Florida were posing a threat on the elections statewide.

Democrats haven't won a governor's race since 1994.

The Governor's race, US Senate, Commissioner of Agriculture, a state senate seat and two state house races all fall within the half percent margin. That made it an extreme outlier among Florida counties. These are ballots where voters filled in too many blanks, or not enough names, or caused some other flaw, such as stray marks. But so far, they have only tabulated 665,688 ballots in the Senate race.

Nelson's campaign released a statement saying Scott's action appears to be politically motivated and borne of desperation in his bid to win his Senate race.

"We all know what is going on. their goal is to keep mysteriously finding more votes until the election turns out the way they want", Scott said.

More than 8.2 million ballots were cast in Florida's election, according to the state Division of Elections web site.

As of Thursday, razor-thin margins of less than 0.5 percentage points separated the candidates in both races.

The President said officials involved in the "phony dossier" about his campaign's contacts with Russian Federation are involved in the recount efforts. Numbers showed Nelson with 49.91 percent of the vote.

"It's a little early to say how it's going to play out", Foley said. "Ron's a young guy, I'm a young guy, Gaetz is a young guy, so it's really about what the future of our party looks like".

Miami-Dade ultimately accepted approximately one in five of that total.

One option Scott has is to suspend Snipes or Bucher from office, but he has to cite evidence of malfeasance.

Generally, most provisional ballots are accepted, said Dan Smith, a political scientist at the University of Florida. "And the supervisors - Brenda Snipes and Susan Bucher - can not seem to say how many ballots still exist and where these ballots came from or where they have been".

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