Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner ordered machine recounts in three statewide races Saturday afternoon — U.S. Senate, governor and agriculture commissioner. Detzner determined that the first unofficial returns that were submitted to his office on Saturday met the statutory threshold to trigger a machine recount.
The results of the machine recounts, which are known as the second set of unofficial returns, must be reported to the state by 3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15. The results of the machine recounts will determine whether hand recounts, a more detailed review of ballots, will be held in any of the three contests.
Under state law, a machine recount is triggered if the margin of victory in a race is less than 0.5 percent, while a hand recount is triggered if the margin is less than 0.25 percent.
In the U.S. Senate race, Republican Gov. Rick Scott holds a 0.15 percent, or nearly a 13,000 vote lead over incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. In the governor’s contest, Republican Ron DeSantis holds a lead of .41 percent, or nearly 34,000 votes over Democrat Andrew Gillum. In the race for agriculture commissioner, Democrat Nikki Fried has a 0.06 percent, or just more than a 5 thousand vote lead over Republican Matt Caldwell.
“The voters of Florida have spoken and Rick Scott was elected to the United States Senate in a close but decisive victory,” said Chris Hartline, a spokesman for the Scott campaign. “The margin of victory is larger than any recount since 2000 has ever closed, with the average recount changing the outcome by just a few hundred votes. It’s time for Senator Nelson to accept reality and spare the state of the Florida the time, expense and discord of a recount.”
“This process is about one thing: making sure every legal ballot is counted and protecting the right of every Floridian to participate in our democracy,” Nelson responded to word of the recounts being ordered.. “Since Tuesday, the gap has shrunk from roughly 60,000 votes to about 12,500 – the margin has reduced by 78 percent and is now roughly .15 percent. We have every expectation the recount will be full and fair and will continue taking action to ensure every vote is counted without interference or efforts to undermine the democratic process. We believe when every legal ballot is counted we’ll win this election”