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LAUDERHILL (CBSMiami) — The embattled Broward County Elections Department got back to business Saturday to manually recount ballots in Florida’s extremely tight Commissioner of Agriculture race between Democrat Nikki Fried and Republican Matt Caldwell.
The department is reviewing more than 22-thousand ballots by hand.
There were also about a dozen ballots from the Senate race, which was recounted Friday, mixed in. They were pulled out.
A bigger issue arose, however, on Sunday. There are 2,040 Early Voting ballots that are missing. Election workers are looking for them.
The state Elections Department website shows Fried is ahead by about 5-thousand votes or 0.06 percent margin which is well below the 0.25 percent margin required by the state for a manual recount.
On Sunday, election workers will do a manual recount in the West Park Commission 1 seat.
Florida counties have until Sunday by noon to report final vote tallies, and state officials would certify those results next Tuesday.
In a manual recount, county canvassing boards examine ballots with “undervotes” and “overvotes” that could not be tallied during a machine recount and determine which ones should be counted by determining ‘voter intent.’
Broward’s hand recount kicked off at 8 a.m. Friday after 29 containers with ballots were unsealed for review. Hundreds of workers arrived at the elections office warehouse in Lauderhill and sat at tables to review 30,896 ballots in the Senate race between Florida Governor Rick Scott and incumbent Senator Bill Nelson, while party representatives and attorneys looked on. They were sent home for the day after finishing their review by 10 a.m., leaving the next round of review to the Canvassing Board.
Unofficial results showed Scott ahead of Nelson by 0.15 percentage points, or fewer than 13,000 votes out of more than 8 million cast.
Broward County, which experienced numerous problems throughout the election, had the most overvotes and undervotes of any Florida county — almost 31,000.
Just a day earlier, the county missed the deadline to submit its machine recount results by two minutes. But it finished its manual recount in just a few hours, which Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes attributed to the large number of volunteers assembled for the task.