FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami/AP) — The recounts are off and running across the State of Florida.
After some early bumps, more than half of Florida’s 67 counties began recounting votes Sunday in the razor-thin Senate and gubernatorial races, bringing back memories of the 2000 presidential fiasco.
In Democratic-leaning Broward County, the scheduled start of the recount was delayed Sunday because of a problem with one of the tabulation machines.
The Republican Party attacked Broward’s supervisor of elections, Brenda Snipes, of “incompetence and gross mismanagement” following the delay, which was resolved within two hours.
The county, the state’s second-most populous, is emerging as the epicenter of controversy in the recount.
Broward officials said they mistakenly counted 22 absentee ballots that had been rejected, mostly because the signature on the return envelope did not match the one on file.
It is a problem that appears impossible to fix because the ballots were mixed in with 205 legal ballots. Snipes said it would be unfair to throw out all the ballots.
The recount in most other major population centers, including Miami-Dade and Pinellas and Hillsborough counties in the Tampa Bay area, was ongoing without incident on Sunday.
Smaller counties are expected to begin their reviews Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. All counties face a Thursday afternoon deadline to complete the recount.
The reviews are an unprecedented step in Florida, a state that’s notorious for election results decided by the thinnest of margins. State officials said they weren’t aware of any other time either a race for governor or U.S. Senate in Florida required a recount, let alone both in the same election.
Unofficial results show that Republican former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis led Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by 0.41 percentage points in the election for governor. In the Senate race, Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s lead over Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson is 0.14 percentage points.
State law requires a machine recount in races where the margin is less than 0.5 percentage points. Once completed, if the differences in any of the races are 0.25 percentage points or below, a hand recount will be ordered.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)