Florida recounts votes for three key races

Sydney Strickland, News Reporter

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   Florida laws are requiring a vote recount for the recent midterm elections for U.S. Senate, Governor and Secretary of Agriculture. Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner ordered the mandatory machine recounts for three statewide elections on Saturday, Nov. 10.

  The state election departments in all 67 Fla. counties have until 3 p.m. Thursday Nov. 15 to complete the machine recount of more than eight million ballots. Overseas and military ballots will be officially counted on Friday, Nov. 16.

 If the state and/or federal votes for each candidate are within 0.25 percent after the machine recount, the State may order a manual recount of all “over” and “under” ballots. Ballots that are considered “overvoted” are ones where a person selected more than one candidate for the same office. “Undervoted” ballots are those in which a person did not vote for any candidate for a particular office.

 Official ballot returns from the potential manual recount will be due to the Secretary of State by noon on Sunday Nov. 18. The official results from all Fla. counties will then be certified by the State on Monday Nov. 19.

  So where does the vote count stand as of today?

  In the race for U.S Senate, Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott leads incumbent Democrat Senator Bill Nelson by 12,562 votes or 0.15 percent of votes. The Governor’s race has U.S. representatives Ron DeSantis leading Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum by 33,684 votes or 0.41 percent of votes. Finally, the election for Secretary of Agriculture has Nicole “Nikki” Fried leading Rep. Matt Caldwell by 5,326 votes or 0.07 percent.

  To add to the pressures of the recount, some candidates have filed legal actions against certain counties – specifically Broward and Palm Beach counties – due to alleged irregularities with the ballot counting and reporting. Both Governor Rick Scott and Senator Bill Nelson have each filed lawsuits claiming that certain votes should not be counted and other votes should.

 With reflections of the chaos that erupted in the 2000 presidential election, Florida once again finds itself garnering national attention due to the closeness of its races and election problems surfacing in South Florida.

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