Florida Governor, Senate Races Pass New Recount Thresholds

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – As ballots continue to be counted across the state, the state’s gubernatorial race and US Senate seat race have passed new recount thresholds.

Canvassing for provisional ballots began at 4 p.m. at the Miami-Dade Elections Department headquarters in Doral and began at 5 p.m. at Broward’s Election Department headquarters in Lauderhill.

They only canvassing 971 provisional ballots in Miami-Dade, with 207 of those accepted.

Those ballots will be fed into the voting machine Thursday night.

The canvassing process in Miami-Dade was completed at approximately 7:05 p.m. and the board will meet Friday at 11 a.m. to sign off on the final ballots.

The Canvassing board has approved participating in as many as three statewide recounts as necessary.

In Miami-Dade, all ballots, votes have been counted and were sent to the Secretary of State’s office by election night.

As of 5 p.m., the Broward Elections Department was still counting mail-in ballots.

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.

As of noon on Thursday, 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.

Gillum, who conceded the race Tuesday night, has grown more supportive of a recount.

RELATED STORY: HOW FLORIDA RECOUNTS WORK

“On Tuesday night, the Gillum for Governor campaign operated with the best information available about the number of outstanding ballots left to count. Since that time, it has become clear there are many more uncounted ballots than was originally reported,” Gillum’s communications director Johanna Cervone said in a statement. “Mayor Gillum started his campaign for the people, and we are committed to ensuring every single vote in Florida is counted.”

When DeSantis gave his victory speech Tuesday night in Orlando, he too thought the race was decided.

He was in Hialeah Gardens touring a small business.

“We’re working hard on the transition,” DeSantis said. “We’ll let the lawyers do what they gotta do, but we’re good and I’m looking forward to serving.”

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.

Nelson wants to proceed with a recount.

In a statement from Nelson’s office, the longtime incumbent said Scott prematurely declared victory in the race based on a Fox News report. Nelson’s team said it’s preparing for a recount and will have observers in every one of the state’s 67 counties to monitor the process.

“We believe that at the end of this process that Senator Nelson is going to be declared the winner and is going to return to the United States Senate,” said Marc Elias, a lawyer hired by Nelson.

In the race for Agriculture Commissioner, Republican Mike Caldwell had 50 percent of the vote as did Democrat Nikki Fried. On election night, Caldwell declared victory. Now a difference of 575 votes separates the two with Fried in the lead. If the numbers hold, there will be a manual recount.

In Broward County, vote-by-mail ballots received on Election Day were still being counted.

Also on Thursday, canvassing boards will meet to approve or revoke provisional ballots.

Elias added that vote-by-mail ballots and provisional ballots initially rejected because the signatures didn’t match historically tend to break for Democrats.

Voters can check to see if their vote-by-mail ballot was accepted by going to their county elections department website and checking its status. If it is not showing ‘received’ you need to follow up with your elections office.

If you filed a provisional ballot on Election Day you can attend the meeting of the canvassing board and provide proof so your vote should be counted.

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.

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