The recounts in the three Florida statewide midterm elections that were ordered by Secretary of State Ken Detzner on Saturday after vote margins in all three of those contests fell below .5 percent, triggering machine recounts as prescribed by state law.
The recounting of votes in the races for U.S. Senate, governor and state agriculture commissioner, began Saturday evening in Miami-Dade County where election workers began scanning ballots into election machines at 6 p.m. Palm Beach County elections official started counting ballot two hours later.
In Broward County, election officials were set to begin their recount beginning at 7 a.m. Sunday morning, but as fate would have it, equipment problems forced a delay in Broward’s recount.
Florida’s 67 counties have until 3 p.m. Thursday to submit their machine recount numbers.
The unofficial returns from Tuesday’s election show that Republican Ron DeSantis led Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by less than 0.5 percentage points, which requires a machine recount of ballots. In the Senate race, Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s lead over Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson has dwindled to .15 percentage points that’s below the .25 percentage mark for triggering a hand recount. A hand recount would be a more thorough review of the ballots and would involve a review of ballots rejected by voting machines to determine if they should have been counted.
The Scott campaign announced Sunday afternoon it had made additional court filings involving Broward and Palm Beach counties’ election officials.
“These filings request that FDLE and the Sheriff’s Office be required to impound and secure all voting machines, tallying devices and ballots when they are not in use until the conclusion of the recount,” the Scott campaign said in a release announcing the the filing of the motions..
“The Broward and Palm Beach County Supervisors of Elections has already demonstrated a blatant disregard for Florida’s elections laws, making it more important than ever that we continue to do everything possible to prevent fraud and ensure this recount is operated responsibly,” said Scott campaign spokesman Chris Hartline.”Senator-Elect Rick Scott will continue to fight to protect the will of Florida voters.”
Scott accused Nelson Sunday morning of pushing for the inclusion of fraudulent ballots in the vote totals, along with votes cast by non-residents.
“He is trying to commit fraud to win this election,” Scott told Fox News. “Bill Nelson’s a sore loser. He’s been in politics way too long.”
“If Rick Scott wanted to make sure every legal ballot is counted, he would not be suing to try and stop voters from having their legal ballot counted as intended, ” Nelson said in a statement Sunday afternoon. “He’s doing this for the same reason he’s been making false and panicked claims about voter fraud — he’s worried that when all the votes are counted he’ll lose this election. We will not allow him to undermine the democratic process and will use every legal tool available to protect the rights of Florida voters.”
Both the state Division of Elections and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement say there has been no evidence of voter fraud.
The change in the vote totals over the past several days has also resulted in Gillum withdrawing the concession he made in the governor’s race Tuesday evening.
“Let me say clearly, I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromised and unapologetic call that we count every single vote,” Gillum said Saturday, adding that he would accept whatever outcome emerges.