Florida recount: 2 large counties finish; another begins

Ballot box. Photo: Pixabay/Michael Swan

Nov. 16 (UPI) — Election officials in Broward County, Fla., quickly completed a manual recount of ballots Friday — as neighboring Palm Beach County began counting in the state’s unresolved U.S. Senate race.

The recount is attempting to clarify Florida’s tight Senate race between Republican Gov. Rick Scott and incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson.

The statewide manual recount focuses only on the thousands of ballots that appear to be either undervotes, in which voters simply leave a race blank, and overvotes, in which voters appear to vote for more than one candidate.

Joseph D’Alessandro, Broward’s director of election planning and development, told the Miami Herald the counting process in his county took less than two hours because the majority of ballots reviewed were undervotes — 30,000, compared to 449 overvotes.

D’Alessandro said the number of undervotes in Broward County was “normal,” disputing analyses by media organizations and elections experts that showed an unusually high number there.

Polling blog FiveThirtyEight questioned whether the position of the Senate race on the Broward County ballot — in the bottom left-hand corner of Page 1 — meant some voters skipped over the race. In preliminary figures, some 26,060 fewer people casts votes for the Senate race compared to the governor’s race — a 3.7 percent difference.

All other counties had less than 0.8 percent difference in votes cast for the two races.

Broward officials plan to return Saturday to manually recount the state’s agricultural commission race and a local commission race.

Palm Beach County, meanwhile, started its manual recount hours after Broward’s completion. The neighboring county to the north has a total of 5,950 undervotes and overvotes.

The state’s most populous county, Miami-Dade, also completed its manual recount Friday.

The recount in the Senate and agricultural race was ordered Thursday at the conclusion of a glitch-ridden machine recount in which Scott, a Republican, held a lead of 12,600 votes (0.15 percent) over Nelson. A margin of less than 0.25 percent triggers the manual tally.

“Our state needs to move forward,” Scott said in a statement Thursday, before the start of the manual recount. “We need to put this election behind us, and it is time for Bill Nelson to respect the will of the voters and graciously bring this process to an end rather than proceed with yet another count of the votes — which will yield the same result, and bring more embarrassment to the state that we both love and have served.”


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