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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Election departments across the state are preparing for possible recounts after several races are too close to call.
It appears at this time that two races, one for a US Senate seat, the other for state Agriculture Commissioner, are headed for a hand recount. A third race, for Governor, appears to be headed for a machine recount.
Under state law, a recount is required when candidates are within one-half point when all the votes are counted.
If it reaches .5 percent, it automatically triggers a statewide machine recount. If it goes within .25, it triggers a manual recount.
In the Senate race, Governor Rick Scott declared victory over incumbent Bill Nelson with a margin of approximately 60,000 votes.
In a Senate race, Republican Rick Scott had 50.11 percent of the vote compared to Democrat Bill Nelson’s 49.89 percent. The .22 percent difference triggers a manual recount if the numbers hold.
In a hand recount, canvassers examine every ballot where the machine showed no one voted for the US Senate seat, these are called under ballots. They also look at those where the voting machine showed a voter marked both names, these are so so-called over ballots.
A hand recount will most likely also be held in the Agriculture Commissioner race where Republican Matt Caldwell leads Democrat Nikki Fried by a scant 4,000 votes.
In the Governor’s race, Republican Ron DeSantis had 49.62 percent of the vote compared to Andrew Gillum’s 49.15 percent. With a percentage point difference of .47, a machine recount is mandated if the numbers hold.
“Our campaign, along with our attorney Barry Richard, is monitoring the situation closely and is ready for any outcome, including a state-mandated recount. Mayor Gillum started his campaign for the people, and we are committed to ensuring every single vote in Florida is counted,” said the Gillum campaign in a statement.
Recounts, when it’s determined how many there will be and if they will be done by hand or machine, won’t happen soon.
In addition to tallying of last-minute vote-by-mail ballots, there’s also the issue of provisional ballots. Those are ballots where the voter didn’t have the proper ID or went to the wrong precinct. There are thousands of them.
On Thursday, canvassing boards will begin either approving or revoking provisional ballots.
All voters who submitted provisional ballots must confirm their vote in order for it to be counted. Voters have until 5 p.m. Thursday to fax, send a personal email or show up in person at their county’s Supervisor of Elections office to confirm they submitted a provisional ballot.
Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections Office
2700 NW 87th Ave
Phone: (305) 499-8683 Fax: (305) 499-8501
Email: Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections
Broward Supervisor of Elections Office
115 S. Andrews Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Phone: (954) 357-7050 Fax: (954) 357-7070
Email: Broward Supervisor of Elections
Counties have until Saturday to turn in their first set of unofficial returns. If the margin remains under 0.5 percent at that point, then Secretary of State Ken Detzner is required to order the recount.
A recount must be conducted before noon November 18th, when the official returns are due from each county canvassing board.
The Florida Elections Canvassing Commission — comprised of Scott and two Cabinet members — is slated to meet 9 a.m. November 20th to certify the election results.
Florida was the scene of a monumental recount battle in 2000 that pitted scores of lawyers against each other in the presidential race. George W. Bush won the presidency by 537 Florida votes over Al Gore after the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately declared an end to the counting.
(©2018 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)